MANILA, March 23, 2006
(BULLETIN) By noli cruz - WITH THEIR defensive patterns finally clicking, skyís the limit now for the Talk íN Text Phone Pals.

"Like I always said, defense will be the key to our success in this tournament," said Pumaren after the Phone Pals avoided their worst start in three years with an 88-66 win over the Purefoods Chunkee Giants at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong.

The 66 points they allowed was way better than the average of 101.5 they gave up in their two losses. Offense is the least of Pumarenís concerns.

Asi Taulava, Willie Miller and Jimmy Alapag can explode for 20+ points on any given night.

Taulava doubled up in all their three games, Miller scored at least 25 points in two games and Alapag had 30 and 11 assists once this early in the Gran Matador Brandy 2006 PBA Philippine Cup.

But like what their coach said, defense will lead them deeper in the tournament.

They will try to even up their card today when they go up against the Alaska Aces at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Acesí triangle offense is arguably the toughest to check, a big challenge for a defensive-minded coach like Pumaren.

Coach Tim Cone has enough supply of ammunitions to burn the oppositions with Jeffrey Cariaso and Mike Cortez manning the backcourt and Tony dela Cruz, Don Allado and Nic Belasco taking care of the frontcourt.

Willy Wilson is also hitting his stride lately. He accounted for 10 points in their victory over the Express. The former De La Salle skipper also had 10 in their opening day win against the San Miguel Beermen.

Wilson is averaging only 2.5 points in their two losses, underscoring the importance of his contribution off the bench.

Meanwhile, the Barangay Ginebra Kings and the Air21 Express try to snap their respective skids when they go up against each other in the nightcap.

Both dropped two straight games although the Kings are slightly better with two wins in four games.

The Express only have a win to show against three losses.

Mark Caguioa is proving to be the indicator of the Kingsí rise or fall. The prolific guard averaged 31 points in their two victories and only 12.5 in their two losses.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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