JANUARY 19, 2011
(BULLETIN) By WAYLON GALVEZ - Game Saturday (Victorias City Sports and Amusement Center) 5:30 p.m. — Talk ’N Text vs San Miguel (Finals Game 1)

From the way they finished their respective elimination campaigns, to the kind of results they had in the quarterfinals and the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel Beer and Talk ’N Text appear evenly matched.

The Beermen and the Tropang Texters ended the elims with identical 11-3 cards, while in the quarterfinals they made gooduse of their twice-to-beat incentives as SMB eliminated Air21 while TNT knocked out Rain or Shine.

In the best-of-seven Final Four, San Miguel and Talk ’N Text had the similar results, winning the series, 4-2, against crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra and defending champion B-Meg Derby Ace, respectively.

In fact, the two coaches – TNT’s Chot Reyes and SMB’s Ato Agustin – share the same birthday, as both were born August 1, 1963.

Talent-wise, the two teams are almost equal, from their respective starting units, as well as their respective benches, although San Miguel holds a slight advantage in this aspect.

However, both Reyes, who is eyeing his sixth PBA title, and Agustin, a rookie PBA mentor, share the opinion that the series will boil down to the players’ determination to win.

“For me I believe in the three H, heart, hunger and harmony (of the team),” Reyes, who mentored Agustin in the then PABL in 1985 with Fuji, said on Tuesday in the PBA Finals press conference at the Araneta Gateway.

“I think whoever wants to win the game, kasi talagang matched up talaga e,” Agustin, who is eyeing to become the eighth mentor to win a PBA championship on his rookie season, said.

The two ball clubs met twice in the elimination round, with Talk ’N Text winning the first (97-83), and San Miguel Beer taking the second (93-88).

The point guard match up will be between the veteran Jimmy Alapag (14.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists) and Alex Cabagnot (9.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists) who can really be dangerous having recorded three game-winning shots in this conference.

At the two guard position, Ryan Reyes (9.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists) is expected to be pitted against Dondon Hontiveros (15.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 43.3 % 3-pt shooting).

The forward spots are also interesting with Kelly Williams (10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds) and Harvey Carey (10.6 points, 11.1 rebounds) going up against Jay Washington (15.8 points, 10.0 rebounds) and Arwind Santos (15.1 ppoints, 9.0 rebounds).

The starting center will be between veterans Ali Peek (13.8 points, 9.4 rebounds) and Dorian Pena (4.7 points, 8.2 rebounds).

The benches of both teams are also expected to contribute with TNT expected to go to Jason Castro (10.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists), Larry Fonacier (9.9 points), Jared Dillenger, Ranidel de Ocampo and Aaron Aban, while SMB will have Danny Seigle (9.3 points), Joseph Yeo, Danny Ildefonso, Sunday Salvacion, Paul Artadi, Mick Pennisi and Olsen Racela.

“I don’t think we can ask for a better match up,” PBA Commissioner Chito Salud said. “If we really want to attract new and younger fans, and show them the best kind of basketball has to offer, this is it.”

Meanwhile, Salud said giant TV network GMA-7 has inquired about the prospect of being the pro-league's official coveror next season

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved