PBA FIESTA: STAR-STUDDED PALS, BEEREMEN RELIVE FEUD
MANILA, October 6 2005 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Beaten by San Miguel Beer in their recent title collision, Talk n Text is fancied to exact some measure of revenge as the two teams mix it up in their initial outings in the San Mig Coffee PBA Fiesta Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City today.
Purefoods seeks a second straight win versus the debuting Air21 team (formerly FedEx) in the third playdate of the tourney backed by Xtreme Magic Sing.
Despite settling for runner-up honors behind the Beermen in the last tourney, the Phone Pals loom as the top favorites after emerging clear winner in the off-season player deals that netted them top rookies Anthony Washington and Mark Cardona.
The Beermen, meanwhile, acquired known role player Paolo Hubalde and former Shell mainstay Christian Calaguio to beef up what coach Jong Uichico admitted is an aging lineup.
"Our main concern is we’re not getting any younger. But of course we’ll always be there fighting," said Uichico.
Washington and Cardona, both former stars in the PBL, have become welcome additions to talented TnT lineup featuring Asi Taulava, Jimmy Alapag, Vic Pablo, Mark Telan, Harvey Carey. Willie Miller will miss the early part of the tourney due to injury although Damien Cantrell is expected to play 45-48 minutes a game.
The Talk n Text also firmed up its coaching staff with Derrick Pumaren tapped as consultant and Bong Ramos as assistant coach.
Talk n Text underwent a minor revamp after twice making the finals last season and twice coming short in the finals. They settled for runner-up honors behind the Beermen in the last Fiesta Cup despite the return of Taulava.
However, a more focused and more physically fit Taulava is coming out today and he could pose big problem to the San Miguel team depleted by injuries to Dorian Peña and Dondon Hontiveros.
Import Rico Hill is expected to carry much of the load for the Beermen.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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