GRAN MATADOR  PBA  CUP:  TnT  SENDS  STRONG  SIGNAL  WITH  3rd  WIN

MANILA,  October 14, 2004  (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Talk n Text continued to dish out a kind of game that produces championship, making it three in a row with a 119-98 rout of FedEx in the Gran Matador PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum last night.

But Talk n Text coach Joel Banal felt his team was still far from reaching peak form.

"What we’re trying to do is get the highest level of game we can. We’ll try to get better in practice and try to bring it on the court," said Banal after his Phone Pals stretched their streak to three games following earlier wins over the San Miguel Beermen and the Alaska Aces.

Meanwhile, Alaska and Coca-Cola both seek to rebound from a loss the last time out as they square off in a road game at the Urios College Gym in Butuan City at 6 p.m. today.

As in their conquests of the Beermen and the Aces, the Phone Pals came up with a solid all-round game, sending the Express back to earth following their big reversal of the Red Bull Barako Thunder last Friday at the Makati Coliseum.

FedEx’s defeat left Talk n Text and Purefoods (2-0) as the only remaining undefeated teams in the tourney.

Curiously, the Express crashed to the shocking defeat with coach Joe Lipa calling the shot after his stint with the Philippine young men’s team in the Asian championship in Tehran, Iran.

Asi Taulava, Willie Miller, Mark Telan and Jimmy Alapag made the biggest damage on the Express as the four scored 15 points or more.

Counting Vic Pablo’s nine points, the Talk n Text starting five outscored their FedEx counterparts of John Ferriols, Renren Ritualo, Homer Se, Wynne Arboleda and Roger Yap, 86-41.

So dominating were the Phone Pals that they sat on a 65-49 cushion at the half and kept commanding spreads to the finish.

The Phone Pals enjoyed their biggest lead at 114-90 with Mark Telan highlighting a 12-0 run with a breakaway slam off a steal on Marc Pingris.

Taulava had a hulking performance with 22 points and 17 rebounds. Miller added 20 points, four rebounds and four assists, Telan chipped in also 20 points, four rebounds and two assists and Alapag contributed 15 points, six assists and two rebounds.

Ferriols and Ritualo paced the Express with 16 points apiece.

The entire Talk n Text team outrebounded FedEx, 62-42, and had more assists, 32-20, and better field goal percentage, 50%-42.2%.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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