PHONE  PALS  TAKE  GAME 1;  KNIGHTS  SET  TO  LODGE  PROTEST

MANILA, January 31, 2005 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran  -  Asi Taulava returned to action in defiance of his continued suspension in the league, and Talk n Text repulsed Barangay Ginebra, 89-71, in Game One of their Gran Matador PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven title playoff at the Araneta Coliseum last night.

The series-opener, however, could become an exercise in futility with Ginebra officials putting the game under protest, and indications pointing to the Kings gaining the victory on technicality.

PBA commissioner Noli Eala said he will announce his verdict on Ginebra’s protest once their legal case against Taulava in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court is resolved. The PBA has a motion for reconsideration at the QC RTC which issued a writ of preliminary injunction ordering the league to reinstate Taulava. There’s a scheduled hearing on the case tomorrow.

Talk n Text fielded in Taulava although the 6-foo-8 behemoth was not in the league’s official roster of players.

Expectedly joining the Phone Pals as they entered the court, Taulava was greeted by a deafening booing by the predominantly pro-Ginebra crowd.

The alleged "Fil-sham" was jeered no end by the Ginebra throngs as he started the game for Talk n Text together with Willie Miller, Jimmy Alapag, Vic Pablo and Mark Telan and played a total of 36 minutes in his first game in the league in three months.

Obviously a bit out of shape because of the long respite, Taulava struggled for six points. He made his first basket of the night with already 22 minutes into the game.

But Willie Miller, Jimmy Alapag, Yancy de Ocampo and Mark Telan more than made up for Taulava’s mediocre performance, taking turns in delivering the goods for the Pals as they sustained the momentum of their three-game sweep of the Shell Turbochargers.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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