PBA:  EXPLOSIVE  START  GIVES   PAL  BIG  WIN,  ONE  FOOT  IN  SEMIS

MANILA, December 20, 2004 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Talk n Text probably had other things to do later in the night, like Christmas shopping or attending Christmas parties, that the Phone Pals were in a hurry to dispose of the Sta. Lucia Realtors.

The Phone Pals played with their hearts out right from the opening tip, breaking the game apart in the first period and going on to score a lopsided 102-83 win that assured the team of a playoff for an automatic semifinals seat in the Gran Matador PBA Philippine Cup at the Makati Coliseum.

Working on all cylinders in a big turnaround from their atrocious showing versus the Shell Turbochargers Wednesday, the Phone Pals erected a 23-point spread, 28-5, in the first quarter and just never let up in fashioning out a vengeful triumph versus the Realtors.

With their 12th win in 17 games, the Phone Pals put one foot into the semifinals. They go for the outright semis berth in a Christmas Day duel with the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

"This is a good win before the Ginebra game. We need to build our confidence before playing them as Ginebra is now dishing out games on a higher level," said Talk n Text coach Joel Banal.

Bracing up versus the Kings, the Phone Pals got off to a jackrabbit start and kept huge double-digit spreads for over 40 minutes.

"It was a case of them (the Realtors) blowing us out right in the first half in our first game and becoming over-confident tonight. The thing is that were ready this time," said Banal, whose team was beaten by Sta. Lucia, 102-104, on Nov. 30. The Pals fell behind by as many as 17 points then.

Talk n Text starters Jimmy Alapag, Yancy de Ocampo, Victor Pablo, Willie Miller and Mark Telan all came out with their guns ablaze and each one finished in double figures.

Alapag and De Ocampo made 20 points each, Pablo rifled in 18, Miller added 14 and Telan chipped in 11.

Dennis Espino and Kenneth Duremdes combined for 45 points but the bulk of their production came a bit late. They scored 15 points together in the final period when the two teams were just going through the motion of putting the game to an end.

It was practically all over in the first period with Talk n Text sitting on a 32-13 cushion.

The Pals jumped the gun on the Realtors shooting 48.1 percent from the field as against Sta. Lucias woeful 25-percent clip.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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