TALK ‘N Text seek for its fifth straight win as it battle Meralco while Ginebra Kings try to bounce back when it face winless Globalport today in the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup elimination round at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Import Richard Howell will lead the Tropang Texters in their 5:45 pm encounter against the Meralco Bolts while the Ginebra Kings, carrying a 1-2 slate, face Batang Pier, that is aiming to snap a four-game losing skid at 8 p.m.
The 6’7 Howell, who averaged 26.25 points and 20.50 rebounds a game in four matches, is coach Norman Black’s lead man. He finished with 23 points and 20 rebounds in their 101-96 win against Barako Bull on Sunday and notched 38 points and 20 rebounds in their triumph over the San Miguel Beermen on March 14. The 24-year-old former forward of North Carolina State University also averaged two assists, 2.25 steals and 0.75 blocks per game with the Tropang Texters.
But Meralco’s Brian Butch, the tallest import in the conference at 6’10, is no pushover that posted an average of 32.67 points on top of 20.67 rebounds in his three games so far. The 30-year-old former Wisconsin University standout is also reliable in defense making two blocks and two steals on top of 1.33 assists a game.
With Butch at the helm, Meralco is now occupying the solo fourth spot with 2-1 card.
Its lone loss so far was at the hands of San Miguel Beer, 76-94, on March 7. However, they bounced back with convincing wins against Alaska (85-76) on March 12 and Globalport (104-99) on March 15.
Besides Butch, coach Ryan Gregorio is also expecting reinforcement from Gary David, Rabbi Al-Hussaini, Reynel Hugnatan and Danny Ildefonso.
Gregorio also said that injured skipper Jared Dillinger will also see action against Talk ‘N Text today.
“I’m certain Jared Dillinger will be playing on Friday against TNT. We really wanted to win our first three games. That is our modest goal now.
We will try to test the unblemished record of Talk ‘N Text,” said Gregorio, who is trying to bounce back after failing to make it to the quarterfinals in the recent Philippine Cup.