MANILA, March 18, 2006
(BULLETIN) IT WOULD have been a perfect vacation trip in Hong Kong over the weekend. Unfortunately the three-day sojourn is all about work for the Talk ‘N Text Phone Pals.

Still winless in the Gran Matador Brandy-PBA Philippine Cup, the Phone Pals are aware they are in a must-win situation when they take on the Purefoods Chunkee Giants in the league’s first official out-of-the-country game this season with PLDT Global and Smart Padala as its major sponsors in cooperation with San Miguel Beer.

Talk ‘N Text is currently at the bottom of the standings with a 0-2 win-loss card, losing badly against defending champion Barangay Ginebra in its debut, 81-98, and then dropping a heartbreaking 102-105 thriller against Air21 the last time.

While newly-hired coach Derrick Pumaren isn’t pushing the panic button yet, he knows very well the Phone Pals have to start winning.

And it should begin at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, where thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are expected to fill every nook and cranny of the famed arena.

For one, the Pals haven’t been on a losing form to start a campaign since going 0-2 at the beginning of the 2003 All-Filipino Cup.

And of course, there’s the known fact that Talk ‘N Text owner Manny Pangilinan considers Hong Kong his second home.

It was through his efforts that the lone March 19 match, set at 4:10 p.m., had been made possible through Smart Global, with support coming from Magic Sing and Cebu Pacific as the official carrier, and San Miguel Beer.

"We need this win badly as the team certainly doesn’t want to return to Manila carrying a 0-3 card. Besides, we also want to give something back to Mr. Pangilinan, who had been very generous not only to the team, but to the thousands of OFWs who had been based in Hong Kong and whom he wanted to entertain by bringing in the PBA there," said Pumaren.

The entire Talk ‘N Text team is leaving for Hong Kong together with the rest of the delegation on Saturday morning via Cebu Pacific.

The Pals are scheduled to practice later in the afternoon and have a light shootout the following morning.

Tickets are no longer available three days before the game, assuring the league of another blockbuster overseas game at the gates similar to the one it held in Jakarta, Indonesia during the Fiesta Conference last year.

"It thrills us no end to bring the PBA in Hong Kong especially upon hearing that all tickets had already been taken. Rest assured of an exciting weekend especially to all our kababayans out there," said league Commissioner Noli Eala.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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