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Talk n Text brings in Bell for final push

Both on a roll, Rain or Shine and Burger King try to stretch their winning streaks Wednesday to stay deep in the hunt for an outright playoff spot in the 2009 Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference.

Within reach of making their first semifinal appearance since joining the league in 2005, the Elasto Painters face the Barako Bull at 5 pm while The Whoppers take on Talk N’ Text at 7:30 p.m. in a pair of crucial matches at the Cuneta Astrodome.

With identical 7-5 records, RoS and Burger King are tied with Barangay Ginebra and Purefoods in a four-way logjam for second place. San Miguel Beer leads the pack with a 9-2 mark.

“I hope we could keep the momentum going,” said Caloy Garcia, the soft spoken Rain or Shine tactician after the Elasto Painters held off the Tropang Texters, 118-116, in overtime last Wednesday despite missing 20 free throws.

Three weeks ago, their hopes to land in the top two spots appeared scuttled when the Elasto Painters went on a four-game skid. But they somehow managed to bounce back, winning two in a row.

Another one against the Barako Bull will pull RoS one win up on the other contenders.

Rain or Shine won the first meeting between the teams (91-83) last March 1. The Energy Boosters bring up the rear of the 10-team field with a 2-10 slate and are desperately trying to snap a six-game losing streak.

Garcia though remains cautious, swearing the scheduled rematch isn’t as easy as it looks as some observers might think.

“It’s not an easy game. Barako Bull is playing with no pressure. The pressure is on us. Hindi pa kami napupunta sa ganitong stage. We are hard pressed to win our next two games and that's where the pressure comes. But we’ll take it one game at a time,” Garcia said.

Tournament format provides that the top two teams of the classification phase advance to the best-of-seven semifinals outright.

Frontrunner San Miguel Beer appears to be a strong shot to clinch the No.1 seed unless the Beermen find themselves dropping their last three assignments.

The battle for the number two spot remains a guessing game. It's crowded and so close and could be decided by a playoff.

“We just have to believe that we could make it,” said Burger King coach Yeng Guiao of their chances to secure their place in the semifinals.

Yet, he emphasized that he won’t be pressured by it (clinching outright semifinal spot).

“This is just my first conference with the team. It would be asking too much of the team and myself. But we have the capability (to achieve it). If that happens we’ll take it. If we have to take the long way it's fine with me,” Guiao said.

The Whoppers are on a three-game winning streak but they will be facing a tough challenge from TNT (6-6), a team still hoping it could contend for the top two spots.

Talk n Text scored a come-from behind victory (117-114) against Burger King in their first meeting last March 14 that saw the Texters charging back from 22 points down.

But import Tiras Wade, who scored 48 points in that game, had been fired by the team two weeks ago because of “unpleasant behavior.”

Gary Forbes took over from Wade the last two games. But he too has been given the pink slip. Former Coca-Cola import and certified scorer Rashad Bell has flown in to be Talk n Text’s new import and will suit up against Burger King once he passes the height measurement.(DBC)]

Source: http://www.pba.ph/content/view/2624/1/
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