BEERMEN, PALS LEAD SERIES, 2-1
MANILA, JANUARY 29, 2007 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Coach Chot Reyes and his troops have acknowledged the fact that they canít play cutie-cutie and expect to win against the fierce-fighting Red Bull side.
The Beermen stood their ground in a highly-physical game with the Bulls last night and pulled off a 109-82 rout to gain a two-game-to-one lead in their Talk n Text PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals showdown before a sellout crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.
Danny Seigle and Danny Ildefonso both came back strong from a poor showing in Game 2, combining for 43 points and 19 rebounds to lead the way for San Miguel.
"I think weíre just intimidated by their physical game in Game 2. I told the boys not to back down and be prepared to dish it and take it. Iím glad they responded to the call," said Reyes.
Asked whether he expects the series to become more rugged to the extent of seeing blood in the next games, Reyes answered: "Yup."
So rugged was the contest that it drew four technical fouls each from the two teams which figured in several near fights, twice involving Ildefonso, who was ejected in the fourth quarter.
"This has nothing to do with tactic anymore. This is about physicality. We talked about making a stance on them if they make a stance on us. Matira na ang matibay," said Reyes.
Reyes thought the ploy paid off as they cut loose from a close game in the second period and completed a rout that put them within two games of the best-of-seven title series.
Red Bull coach Yeng Guiao, meanwhile, felt their poor job off the boards did them in.
Renren Ritualo fired six triples and totaled 29 points while Mark Cardona added 18 points all in the second half as Talk n Text made it two in a row over Barangay Ginebra, 109-100, to surge ahead in their own semis duel.
The Phone Pals improved their game notches higher from Game Two and took control most of the way despite superb individual performances from Mark Caguioa, Rudy Hatfield and Jayjay Helterbrand for the Kings.
Caguioa led the team with 26 points with Hatfield coming away with 20 points and 19 rebounds and Helterbrand coming through with 17 points and a career-best 18 assists.
"Itís still far from over. Itís not the series yet. We canít let our guards down because Ginebra is capable of coming back," said Talk n Text coach Derrick Pumaren.
"Weíre outrebounded overwhelmingly. They were closer to the baskets and we gave away so many free throws," said Guiao.
The Beermen did dominate the boards, snaring 75 rebounds, 26 more than the Bulls did. San Miguel outscored Red Bull, 27-19, on free throws and, 26-11, on offensive rebounds.
On their being physical, Guiao said: "We donít look at it being physical. Itís our natural style of play. To us, itís a routine, a technical matter. Itís up to them to handle that."
For buying near fights, Ildefonso was thrown out of the game and now faces possible suspension in the next game.
"If thatís the price we have to pay, weíll take that. We just have to find a way of winning without Danny I," said Reyes.
Red Bull key player Enrico Villanueva said they love the attitude shown by San Miguel. "Mas okay sa amin yan," said Villanueva, who had a face-to-face altercation with Ildefonso.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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