Mahindra and Talk ‘N Text aim to keep their unblemished record when they face their respective rivals today in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Enforcers, led by its energetic import 23-year-old James White, will meet the Alaska Aces in the second game at 7 p.m. after the opening match between the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters and the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Road Warriors at 4:15 p.m.
White, who posted an average of 25 points, 14 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks during the first three games, is expected to come out stronger as he pit his skills against his 6’5 counterpart LaDontae Henton of Alaska.
“We really need to unleash his (White) killer instinct. So far, he is young and aggressive. We are really satisfied with what he has shown defensively and offensively but we’re expecting more from him,” Mahindra coach Chris Gavina told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
The Enforcers’ three wins came at the expense of the Star Hotshots, the GlobalPort Batang Pier and the reigning champion San Miguel Beermen. The Enforcers are sharing the top spot with the Tropang Texters that are also carrying a 3-0 win-loss record.
Gavina also said that playing-coach Manny Pacquiao will see action against Alaska.
“The game against Alaska is pivotal. We need to play better as team and I believe we can get the job done. Aside from our import, the local players are there to deliver. Alaska is very hungry for a win right now. They will play competitively just like before,” added Gavina.
Besides White, local players Aldrech Ramos, Nino Canaleta, Bradwyn Guinto, Mark Yee and Jason Ballesteros are also expected to step up in their hunt for win No. 4.
The Aces, with a 1-2 win-loss record, lost to Talk ‘N Text in Antipolo City on Friday. Import Henton will lead Alaska with the support of Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Jayvee Casio, Chris Banchero and RJ Jazul.
The Aces, under coach Alex Compton are eyeing a second win after four games.
The Tropang Texters, however, are expecting a tough match from their sister-team the NLEX Road Warriors.
“I’m satisfied with our import [Mario Little] although he didn’t score that much. He is there to provide the intangibles,” Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico told The Manila Times in a phone interview. TNT will lean on Asian import Michael Mandaly, Ranidel De Ocampo, Troy Rosario, Ryan Reyes, Kris Rosales and rookie Moala Tautuaa.
NLEX, meanwhile, will be banking on import Henry Bill Walker, center Paul Asi Taulava, Jonas Villanueva, Enrico Villanueva, Kevin Alas and Asian import AKL Rodrigue.
“We are facing a tough game especially with the way Talk ‘N Text has been playing in its last three games,” NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said via text message. “We have to limit the production of Mandaly, Castro, Tautuaa and Little so that we can give ourselves a chance to beat them. Our defense is key in winning that game.”