Defending champion Talk 'N Text and B-MEG know they can't take Barako Bull and Powerade, respectively, for granted. Especially that their respective opponents' lives are on the line.
"There's very little margin of error," said Llamados coach Tim Cone.
And so the top two teams at the end of the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations go into Wednesday night's playoffs carrying with them the luxury of finishing their opponents right away in order to clinch the first two semifinals berths.
The Tropang Texters, the second seeded team, try to become the first one to advance in the Final Four as they clash with dangerous Barako Bull Energy, ranked seventh, in the curtain raiser of a scheduled twinbill at the Araneta Coliseum.
The top-ranked Llamados won't get their chance until the 7:30 p.m. main game, when they collide with No. 8 Powerade Tigers.
B-MEG enters its match against Powerade carrying an eight-game winning run, a stretch of brilliancy that enabled them to turn around a lackluster campaign in the season-opening tournament.
Cone however, is not taking the Tigers for granted.
"It's a short series so we will have to be sharp right at the get-go," Cone said. "Outside of Ginebra, Powerade has been the hot team down the stretch of the conference, so our assignment is especially tough. Their players are coming on strong and we've got some tough match-ups to deal with. Needless to say, we don’t want to go to a second game."
That Powerade will be coming out determined to pull off an upset is understandable.
The Tigers are playing in the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2007-08 season, an opportunity coach Bo Perasol said his team will definitely try to savor.
"We realize how well B-MEG had been playing both individually and as a team," Perasol said. "That knockout game will be a testament of how far we've grown as a team. What I’m sure of is that we won't back down to whatever challenge they will pose."
A 96-82 loss to Barangay Ginebra Sunday cost the Tropang Texters the top spot in the playoffs. Although the reigning champions finished with a similar 10-4 (win-loss) record with B-MEG, the Llamados claimed the top slot owing to a better quotient.
The setback and the fact that his team remains undermanned with some of his key players still nursing injuries, are what concerns coach Chot Reyes going into the 5:15 p.m. encounter.
"They beat us the last time plus we’re coming off a tough game Sunday night while they’re well-rested. This game wouldn't have been a problem if we're complete but now it's an issue because we’re decimated," said last year's Coach of the Year.
"We must find a way to match up with their bigs without Ali (Peek) and Ranidel while containing (Willie) Miller and (Dylan) Ababou in the perimeter," Reyes said.
The two teams met in the eliminations just once and Barako Bull owned the bragging rights against the defending champions, 100-86. — JVP, GMA News
source : http://www.gmanetwork.com