TIGERS, PALS GO FOR Q'FINALS;  U.S. FIVE GETS NOD

MANILA, June 5, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Nelson Beltran  -  If Coca-Cola and Talk n Text live up to their seedings versus Purefoods and FedEx today, the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference wildcard plays are over by Sunday with the University of British Columbia squad and a US selection joining an eight-team field as the quarterfinal round begins Wednesday.

With their strong finish in the preliminary round and the twice-to-beat incentive they will enjoy in the wildcard tiffs, the Tigers and the Phone Pals are fancied to beat the Hotdogs and the Express and gain seats in the foreign-flavored quarterfinals of the PBA transition tourney.

To many, the only question is whether Coca-Cola and Talk n Text can get it in one game or two.

But despite the tremendous odds in their favor, the Tigers and the Phone Pals are expressing guarded optimism, saying the Hotdogs and the Express wonít simply roll over and die.

The Tigers and the Phone Pals take their first of two cracks at the quarters at the Araneta Coliseum today. The Sta. Lucia Realtors square off with the Barangay Ginebra Kings and the Red Bull Barako Thunder collide with the Shell Turbochargers in one-game knockout settos Sunday in the same venue.

With the quarters possibly starting Wednesday, the PBA Commissionerís Office finally tapped a US selection to join University of British Columbia as foreign guest teams.

The PBA chose the US squad to be brought in by US-based Filipino player agent Choy Layon after the Italian pro league begged off from sending a team Thursday night.

Making up the US team of coach Malcolm Smith are 6-foot-6 Ty Mack, 6-7 Slybrin Robinson, 6-5 Q Randell and 6-6 Jesse Donn all from Northeastern University, 5-7 Frankie Patten of University of Massachussets, 6-3 Sly Mcintosh of Indiana-Pennsylvania, 6-5 Calvin Hardy of Newburry College, 6-8 Troy Brown of Providence, 6-8 Issac Sojurner of Webber State, 5-7 Matt Turner of Boston and 6-2 Wayne Turner of Kentucky. Mcintosh, Mack, Brown and Sojurner are the players with experiences of playing abroad. 


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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