PBA  FIESTA:  FEDEX  DELIVERS  ON  NINE-MAN  CREW

ASTRODOME, March 11, 2005 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran -  For the first time in over a year, FedEx utilized limited number of players and emerged triumphant with a 109-104 victory over Red Bull Barako last night in the 2005 Grand Matador PBA Fiesta Conference at the Astrodome.

Newly-appointed FedEx coach Bong Ramos rotated only nine players and they responded well as the Express bounced back from a sorry loss to the Purefoods Hotdogs Sunday.

"As much as possible, gusto ko rin gamitin lahat. Sinubukan ko against Purefoods, but it didnít work out well," said Ramos.

The FedEx management sacked coach Derrick Pumaren in favor of coach Boni Garcia towards the end of the 2003 season over the company policy that all players must play.

"Hindi ko alam iyun. But I think this team has to move on," said Ramos.

Newly-acquired wingman Gary David was among nine players fielded in by Ramos, and the former Lyceum hotshot responded to the challenge, firing 18 points, including a crucial three-pointer in the closing seconds.

Moving in from Coca-Cola, David went two-of-six from beyond the arc and six-of-14 from the two-point zone while also putting in five rebounds and four assists in his first game in FedExís white and violet jersey.

Renren Ritualo tagged in five treys and a total of 25 points while import Anthony Miller had another huge double-double game with 24 points and 19 rebounds, leading the Express to their first win in the season-ending tourney.

The Express made a big turnaround from their 90-92 loss to the Hotdogs Sunday where they squandered an early 19-point margin.

"Kailangan talaga namin ng isa pang shooter kaya kinuha namin si David. Siguro kung nandoon na siya against Purefoods, baka hindi nawala yung inilamang namin," said Ramos.

It was FedExís turn to score a come-from-behind win last night.

David, Ritualo, Miller, Ranidel de Ocampo and Egay Billones teamed up for a big push in the final stretch as FedEx overcame an 83-93 deficit midway through the final quarter.

Shell also barged into the win-column in the night as the Turbochargers overpowered the Purefoods Hotdogs, 80-68.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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