PBA GRAN MATADOR  RP  CUP  OPENS:  PAL'S  BIG  MEN  PLAY  BIG, CRUSH  BEERMEN

MANILA,  October 4, 2004  (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Talk n Text whipped San Miguel Beer, 93-89, in a game that boiled down to better execution down the stretch at the start of the Gran Matador PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum last night.

The Phone Pals outmaneuvered the Beermen at endgame for the gripping but sweet win that set in motion their title-retention bid in the tourney.

The Pals came up with a balanced scoring but Mark Telan stood out in the end as he fired a game-high 20 points, including nine in the last quarter.

"I have to make special mention of Mark Telan. He delivered big points in the fourth quarter, giving us a big lift in this game," said Talk n Text coach Joel Banal of Telan whom he has just inserted in his starting unit together with Asi Taulava, Willie Miller, Jimmy Alapag and Bong Ravena.

Banal believed Telanís game improved a lot after his stint in a Big Manís Camp in Florida during the break.

"I hope he keeps on playing that way," said Banal.

Actually, Asi Taulava delivered the insurance points but Telan scored the baskets that kept San Miguel at bay in the closing minutes. Taulava made 10 of his 15 points in the payoff quarter.

Yancy de Ocampo, Miller and Alapag also finished in double figures, combining for 46 points.

San Miguel likewise played well with five players also scoring in double figures but yielded the game on crucial errors and misses down the stretch.

In a game that was close most of the way, the Phone Pals gained crucial headway when Olsen Racela committed a crucial error which Telan parlayed into a fastbreak basket for an 89-85 Talk n Text lead with time down to 1:10.

After Dondon Hontiveros and Taulava traded a basket each, missed offensive thrusts by Hontiveros himself and Dorian Pena sealed the Beermenís doom.

Talk n Text and San Miguel figured in a duel of spurts in the first half with the Phone Pals just taking a two-point edge, 37-35, at halftime as the Beermen rallied from a 13-point deficit, 19-32, early in the second period.

The Beermen scored the gameís first seven points but stared at a six-point deficit, 18-24, at the start of second quarter as they went scoreless for about five minutes late in the opening period.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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