PBA  FIESTA:  FINAL  FOUR  UNDER  WAY

MANILA, JUNE 20, 2007
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Red Bull and Alaska Milk are returning to action after a two-week rest, taking on old rivals Talk n Text and San Miguel Beer, respectively, to pursue their title aspirations in the Talk n Text PBA Fiesta Cup.

It’s the start of the best-of-seven semifinal playoffs at the Araneta Coliseum with the Bulls looking to press their title-retention bid and the Aces resuming their chase for a first crown in seven years.

Out to challenge their bids are the Beermen and the Pals who set out for the Final Four riding the momentum of stirring victories in the quarterfinal round.

The Beermen are coming all the way from the wildcard round, and they hope to make history becoming the first wildcard survivor to reach the finals.

San Miguel has survived four knockout games so far, including the last two against Barangay Ginebra that sent the team to the semis against Alaska.

Though having played seven straight games, San Miguel coach Siot Tanquingcen believes they still have a lot to give.

“When you’re winning, you tend to forget how many games you’ve played,” said Tanquingcen.

Alaska coach Tim Cone, meanwhile, thinks the two-week break is just enough for them to recharge and not lose competitive edge.

“It’s not actually an issue (getting rusty from the break) for us. I think we’ve prepared hard for this and we’re excited to play in the semifinals,” said Cone.

Import Galen Young, the anchor of San Miguel’s turnaround from a 0-6 start in the tourney, expects war against his former team.

“Me and Ro (Ellis) have had a lot of battles in the US. So this series should be a dogfight,” Young said.

“We have a lot of weapons in the team and that makes us very dangerous, too,” Young added.

Alaska and San Miguel split their two games in the elimination phase with the Aces spoiling Young’s debut with the Beermen, 94-84, last April 11. But the Beermen got even, 100-96, two weeks later.

The Red Bull-Talk n Text showdown could also a total battle with both teams determined to accomplish their respective goals.

The Bulls, for one, are out to make a statement with not a few questioning the propriety of their trade deal with SMC, dealing Enrico Villanueva for Don Camaso.

Incidentally, Red Bull has won its last four games since Villanueva’s departure.

“Siguro naman kapag nanalo kami sa semis, tapos na ang kwento,” said Red Bull team manager Tony Chua.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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