RED  BULL  GETS  BACK  AT  SMB:  PHONE  PALS  SQUEEZE  PAST  KINGS

MANILA,
JANUARY 27, 2007
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Mark Cardona pumped in a killer trey with time down to 1.1 seconds and Talk n Text redeemed itself from a shattering defeat Wednesday, pulling off a squeaker over Barangay Ginebra last night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Pals made a perfect execution in the closing seconds with Jimmy Alapag and Cardona conspiring for the game-winning play in a 99-96 victory over the Kings that put them on equal footing after two games of their Talk n Text PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal showdown.

Cardona hit the winning basket from the left flank on a good feed from Alapag and the Phone Pals erupted in a frenzied celebration as they shattered the 96-all count with just 1.1 ticks left.

After a timeout, the Kings went to Rudy Hatfield who missed from atop the key, allowing the Phone Pals to complete the victory that sent their series back to scratch.

"We succeeded in forcing Ginebra to play half court game then we made a perfect execution with the game on the line," said Talk n Text coach Derrick Pumaren.

"We’re challenged with the way we’re beaten in Game One so we worked harder tonight," said Cardona, whose heroic put to naught another explosive performance by Mark Caguioa and a career first triple-double by Jayjay Helterbrand.

Caguioa followed up his 34-point showing in Game One with a 31-point job while having verbal tussle with Cardona.

Cardona made only 21 but had the last laugh as he hit the deciding basket which he later dedicated to his college coach Franz Pumaren who was on the gallery.

Beaten by San Miguel Beer on a strong windup in Game One, Red Bull returned the favor, scoring a 106-84 rout to also force a 1-1 standoff in their own semis showdown.

"I guess we beat the best team in the league. We beat them convincingly and it should boost our confidence," said Red Bull coach Yeng Guiao.

"We have no doubt that we can beat San Miguel. But in a series like this where it can be very close, we have to make our own breaks. We can’t get it from the refs," Guiao added.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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