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Bacolod City, PhilippinesThursday, January 20, 2011
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PBA’s top two teams

It will be a rare treat for basketball-loving crowd in Negros Occidental when the Philippine Basketball Association’s top two teams, San Miguel Beer and Talk ‘N Text, open their best-of-seven final series at the Victorias City Sports and Amusement Center this Saturday.

Basketball analysts dubbed the showdown as a match-up between the unstoppable force and immovable object and compared its crowd-drawing power to a bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“I don’t think we can ask for a better match-up,” PBA commissioner Chito Salud said in the league’s official website.

He cited the two team’s similar 11-3 win-loss record in the eliminations, 1-0 in the quarterfinals, and 4-2 in semifinals.

Going into the championship series, top seeded Tropang Texters appear to have the slight edge over the Beermen, seeded No.2.

Pundits credit it to what Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood refers to as Talk `N Text’s dazzling plays off the transition.

Norwood said Talk `N Text’s transition is tough to stop, referrubg to the deadly run-and-gun backcourt crew of Jimmy Alapag, Ryan Reyes and Jayson Castro, plus a throng of big men in Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams and Harvey Carey.

Norwood said the only way for San Miguel to win is to limit TNT’s fastbreak points.

Wynne Arboleda, the tough playing point guard of Air21, also sees the Tropang Texters winning their first All-Filipino title in two years in a deciding seventh game.

Two others in Coca-Cola coach Bo Perasol and Norwood’s backcourt partner at Rain or Shine, Sol Mercado, believe PBA fans are in for a long and thrilling series that could be decided via the full route.

The Coca-Cola mentor is one with Norwood in saying Talk `N Text will take the crown inside six games.

Only once in the last five years did the two franchises meet in the Finals, which came in the 2005 Fiesta Conference when the Beermen whipped the Tropang Texters, 4-1.

Their last series meeting goes back to the 2009 Philippine Cup as Talk `N Text eliminated San Miguel in the semifinals, 4-2, on the way to bagging the title – the last of the total two crowns it has won.

While it may be the winningest team in the 36-year history of the league with 18 championships, San Miguel has not topped a tournament without imports since 2001.

With both teams motivated to finally end their respective title droughts, Mercado said it’s going to be either way in the titles series.

But for the stocky third-year shooting guard, the series opener is going to be the indicator of how the title match up will go.*


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