JANUARY 22, 2007
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Red Bull and Talk n Text eased Sta. Lucia Realty and Purefoods Chunkee out of further contention and nurtured their own title aspirations with yet another emphatic victory last night at the Astrodome.

The Bulls eliminated the Realtors, 105-90, while the Pals ousted the Giants, 115-96, joining the top seeded Barangay Ginebra Kings and the San Miguel Beermen in the Talk n Text PBA Philippine Cup Final Four.

It’s Red Bull against San Miguel and Talk n Text versus Ginebra in a pair of best-of-seven semifinal duels beginning Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Bulls and the Beermen slug it out in a rematch of their semis showdown in the same tourney last year while the Pals and the Kings mix it up in a rematch of their 2005 All-Filipino title confrontation.

"This is our third straight entry into the semis. Tingin ko yun daan namin sa quarters blessing in disguise. We played four games which could be enough for us to be competitive and sharp going into battle against San Miguel," said Red Bull coach Yeng Guiao.

"Isa lang ang major concern ko in match-ups with them — si Danny Seigle. It’s either smaller or slower ang panapat namin sa kanya," Guiao added.

The Pals reprised their Game Three victory, unraveling a swashbuckling second half to close out their best-of-five quarterfinals showdown with the Giants.

"We didn’t do good in the first half but we’re all business in the second half. We knew they would fight hard being on the brink but we made them give up," said Talk n Text coach Derrick Pumaren.

"We’ve overcome the defending champion and, now, we’re up against the No. 1 team in the league at the moment. We have a slight advantage with the fact that we’re riding a momentum. Hopefully, they would be a little rusty coming off a long break," Pumaren added.

The Pals are likely to come out in high spirits since they swept the Kings in two games in the classification round. Despite the setbacks, Ginebra topped the preliminaries with 13 wins against five losses.

Macmac Cardona showed up James Yap for the second straight game, scoring game-high 23 points with Asi Taulava, Jay Washington, Harvey Carey, Renren Ritualo and Vic Pablo each adding at least 10.

Cardona, Washington and Carey made the bulk of their outputs in the second half and the Pals slowly pulled away from their slim 57-53 halftime lead en route to the win ending the Giants’ quest for a title repeat.

For the record, no team has defended the All-Filipino title since Great Taste did so in 1985.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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