SAN MIG COFFEE PBA FIESTA: EXPRESS PRESSING DEFENSE KILLS SLR
MANILA, October 24, 2005 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Air21 stymied Sta. Lucia Realty’s remarkable shooting with a pressure defense and overcame two 13-point deficits in the third quarter in pulling off a 110-95 victory in the San Mig Coffee PBA Fiesta Cup at the Araneta Coliseum last night.
Beaten by the Realtors in an offensive battle early on, the Express called on their second stringers to apply the press and reaped big dividends as they stemmed the tide in their favor in the final half.
Using the full-court press as a lethal weapon, the Express snapped a three-game losing skid and scored their second win following an 88-84 win over the Purefoods Chunkee Giants last Oct. 7.
"My players, especially my second stringers, responded to my call. I told them if they want to stay longer on the court, they do the press. My first stringers couldn’t do it wholeheartedly since they would also deliver offensively," said Air21 coach Bo Perasol.
The quartet of Nino Canaleta, Ronald Tubid, Ranidel de Ocampo and Gary David did the job with import Shawn Daniels, and Air21 made a stunning turnaround from a 63-76 deficit, handing Sta. Lucia a second straight defeat curiously after releasing original import Luke Whitehead in favor of Leon White.
Air21 and Sta. Lucia, the two teams which finished no higher than seventh in each of the three conferences last season, are now tied on identical 2-3 win-loss records.
"We needed this win badly. Me myself wanted to win badly to prove to the boys the system we’re doing is working," Perasol said.
Reigning champion San Miguel Beer finally played with a complete lineup but still couldn’t finish with a win, bowing to Red Bull Barako, 74-76, in a fiercely-fought contest in the nightcap.
The Beermen, who welcomed back in their fold Dorian Peńa and Dondon Hontiveros, remained winless in four games.
Red Bull improved to 3-2.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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