JANUARY 31, 2007
(STAR) In a pair of best-of-seven series fast becoming like a boxing match, San Miguel Beer and Talk n Text try to pin their rivals on the ropes today, hoping to unleash the knockout punch.

The Beermen and the Pals seek to push the Red Bull side and the Barangay Ginebra Kings to the wall, gunning for a commanding three-game-to-one lead in Game Four of the Talk n Text PBA Philippine Cup Final Four at the Araneta Coliseum.

Coaches Chot Reyes and Derrick Pumaren, however, admit it won’t be easy, saying the Bulls and the Kings will surely come out strong in a bid to get even.

"We threw the first punch, they delivered the next and we countered in Game Three. It’s becoming like a boxing match, the team which counters better will win the series," said Reyes.

"It’s not the series yet. We can’t let our guards down because Ginebra is capable of coming back," said Pumaren.

The Bulls and the Kings, however, could really come out like a brawler looking to rally while down on points in the later rounds of a fight.

"We have to work harder because we’re down and we don’t want to fall in a deeper hole," said Ginebra coach Jong Uichico.

The Kings’ main concern is how to get their running game going. The team is definitely missing the services of the injured Eric Menk with the Kings having difficulty matching up with Talk n Text’s big front line.

Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand have been doing their jobs at the back court but their efforts are being neutralized by Renren Ritualo, Mac Mac Cardona and Jimmy Alapag.

Incidentally, the Pals beat the Kings in a close match then in a lopsided encounter Friday and Sunday, respectively.

San Miguel and Red Bull, on the other hand, have been in a seesaw battle. If the trend holds, the Bulls would get even tonight.

Meanwhile, San Miguel’s Danny Ildefonso, who was ejected on two technicals Sunday, escaped suspension but was fined P5,000 for misconduct.

Red Bull coach Yeng Guiao believes Game 4 could be the turning point of the series. "Game 3 was a big game but not as big as Game 4," he said.

With the Beermen hinting at keeping a highly physical battle, Red Bull ace Rico Villanueva said: "Mas okay sa amin yan."

Guiao and Villanueva believe they would have a good chance to pull even if they solve their rebounding woes.

"We’re ourebounded and that resulted in the outcome of Game 3. They were closer to the baskets, got more rebounds and, thus, had more attempts," said Guiao.

The Beermen hauled down 75 rebounds, 26 more than the Bulls did. San Miguel outscored Red Bull, 27-19, on free throws and, 26-11, out of offensive rebounds.

HBO not covering Pacquiao-Injin bout By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 01/31/2007

Cable network HBO has pulled the plug on Manny Pacquiao’s next fight, tentatively scheduled April 28 against Korean Injin Chi in Macau.

According to doghouseboxing,com, Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said that, with HBO out of the picture, negotiations are going on with a Philippine network.

Many had hoped that the coming fight would be aired by HBO which has covered most of Pacquiao’s sensational fights in the US.

"The fight is going to go on April 28. We never said it would definitely be on HBO," Arum was quoted as telling

"We’re now talking with the Philippine network and we have reserved the 27th and 28th on pay-per-view with InDemand, etc," the Top Rank big boss said.

Arum said HBO pulling the plug on Pacquiao’s next fight was a direct result of a legal letter sent by Golden Boy Promotions to HBO.

Golden Boy, owned by Oscar dela Hoya, is in a legal tug-of-war with Top Rank over the promotional rights on the Filipino superstar.

"Golden Boy sent a legal letter to HBO and they may not want to be involved in the lawsuit," said Arum, who’s been waiting for Pacquiao to fly to the US to finalize the fight details.

Pacquiao was supposed to be in Los Angeles this week, but said he’s not going until the first week of February. The earlier he goes to Los Angeles, the better.

Arum, in a separate interview, said it’s better for Pacquiao to come to the US as soon as possible, begin his training, and avoid all the distractions back home.

"I agree with (Freddie) Roach. Manny is going to have to stop all the stuff and stop playing around. Time for play is over and the time for real work is here. I absolutely agree with Roach on this," Arum said.

Roach, who looms as dela Hoya’s new trainer, said it would be better for Pacquiao to begin his eight-week training in Los Angeles, and move to Manila in the final phase of the preparations before flying to Macau.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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