Rejoice PBA fans! The season is upon us once again, and that of course means that the Philippine Cup is already underway. For those of you who are part of the #TNTNation, you probably don’t have too many fond memories of last season’s Philippine Cup. If you recall, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters were thrashed in their semi-finals encounter with the San Miguel Beermen, losing the series 0-4. But that’s already in the past, and with a new season comes the chance to leave a new lasting memory. In order to do that, the Tropang Texters definitely want to make a statement in their season opener, with a win against the 2nd place finisher’s of the last Philippine Cup, the Alaska Aces.
If their last encounter in the 2014 Philippine Cup is any indication of what to expect, then this game is bound to be a thriller. In that game, the contrasting styles of the two teams were on full display, and the Alaska Aces ended up barely pulling out a 100-98 win against Talk ‘N Text. This just goes to show how evenly matched these two teams are. Furthermore, this matchup will also feature the best offense (104.6 ORTG for TNT) of the 2015 Philippine Cup going against the best defense (90.4 DRTG for ALA).
Time To Rebound
Alaska as we know, with the likes of Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, and Sonny Thoss, is a team that is very tenacious on the boards. Talk ‘N Text on the other hand, although decent in their defensive rebounding, has always been a team that struggles to get offensive rebounds (ranked 10th in the 2015 Philippine Cup). In the Tropang Texters’ 98-100 loss, this is really what spelled the difference between the two teams. They were out-rebounded by the Aces 6-26 on the offensive glass, and 39-59 for the entire game. Yeah, that’s right. The only difference in the rebounding numbers between the two teams were those 20 offensive rebounds.
And of course with offensive rebounds come second chance points, and Alaska had 31 of them in that game. Add all these struggles to the fact that Talk ‘N Text was a relatively undersized team, and it’s no surprise that opposing teams would try to exploit the weak interior of the Tropang Texters.
The New Tropa
But again, I said was. The good news for Talk ‘N Text is that all this is in the past, and now the 2016 PBA season has brought them the necessary reinforcements to toughen up their inside presence. Prized rookies Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario, as well as sophomore Matt Ganuelas-Rosser are sure to give a boost to the Tropang Texters inside the paint. Plus their exposure to the Gilas Pilipinas program over the offseason is surely going to add to their development into future stars of the PBA. There were also offseason trades made by the management to acquire veteran forwards Larry Rodriguez and Dylan Ababou, which can only further help Talk ‘N Text in the shaded area.
And although there are many, many good things to say about the new recruits for Talk ‘N Text, this does also bring with it one difficulty to start the season: team chemistry. As I mentioned, several players had to go support our Gilas Pilipinas team during the offseason, and this also includes mainstays Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo. This means that the time the new Talk ‘N Text roster has had to gel as a team is much shorter than that of the other teams in the PBA. Their rookies, and even their new veteran players, might take awhile to get used to the system of head coach Jong Uichico.
But in basketball, as in life, change is a necessary part of moving forward, and all you need is the appropriate time and support to adjust to the different things that come your way. With the great coaching staff and steady veteran leadership on this team, I’m sure we can all expect great things from this new Talk ‘N Text squad.
|TV: LIVE ON TV5 AND AKSYONTV|
|TIME: 7:00 PM|
|VENUE: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM|