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Barako Bull tests Ginebra (February 01, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

LA Tenorio of Brgy. Ginebra. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

BIÑAN, Laguna—Less than a week after all pretournament hype on them were extinguished, Barangay Ginebra gets a chance at redemption when the Gin Kings slug it out with the Barako Bull Energy in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Alonte Sports Center here.

After going down in shambles in their debut against Meralco on Tuesday, the Kings and the much-ballyhooed Michael Dunigan plunge back into action in the 5:15 p.m. game against a Barako Bull crew that will be seeking a piece of the early lead.

Ginebra, which underachieved in the last two conferences under the now sacked Jeffrey Cariaso, played well below expectations in a 74-85 loss to the Bolts in the inaugurals, failing to maximize the huge advantage it had in size and failing to get Dunigan going.

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Talk 'N Text import Richard Howell. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters eye share of the early lead in their tiff with Blackwater Elite as PBA Commissioner’s Cup action shifts to the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna on Sunday.

Talk ‘N Text and Blackwater face off at 3 p.m. while Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Barako Bull Energy tangle at 5:15 p.m. Both games will be aired live on TV5.

A victory for Talk ‘N Text would allow them to tie sister team Meralco Bolts (2-0) on top of the standings.

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Defense now Purefoods' mantra after lackluster Philippine Cup (February 01, 2015)
Marisse Panaligan [ Source: GMA Network ]

Purefoods Star import Marqus Blakely. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

After a lackluster performance in the Philippine Cup that saw the Grand Slam champions eliminated in the quarterfinals, Purefoods has only one mantra in mind for the Commissioner's Cup: defense.

"Kailangan talaga namin ibalik 'yung defense namin kasi 'yun 'yung nawala last conference," James Yap told reporters after the Hotshots won their first game in the mid-season conference against GlobalPort.

Purefoods scored 83 points while limiting the Batang Pier to 70 and a 27-of-78 shooting clip, showing sharper defensive instincts compared to their lethargic form in the previous conference.

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Meralco Bolts guard Gary David hangs in the air for a layup. Sports5/Paul RyanTan

After a forgettable performance last conference, four-time PBA scoring champion Gary David is out to redeem himself in the Commissioner's Cup.

The 36-year-old veteran pulled out an explosive output for the second game in a row for Meralco, scoring 25 points against Kia on Friday night after scattering 21 points in their opening game against Barangay Ginebra.

"S'yempre ganun talaga as a veteran kailangan magpakita ka ng leadership sa mga kakampi mo, lalo na 'yung mga bata," said David of his stellar showing.

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Jai Reyes of Meralco Bolts gets by the defense of Kia's LA Revilla. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Fueled by the desire to prove himself to Kia, the team that selected him in the dispersal draft, Jai Reyes tallied impressive numbers in his debut game for Meralco in the Commissioner's Cup.

The former Ateneo star finished with 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists, giving the Bolts a much-needed lift to win 90-80 against the PJ Ramos-led Carnival on Friday night.

"Sila nag draft saken e, sa dispersal draft," said Reyes of the Kia franchise. "Dinraft nila ko pero di nagkatuloy sa signing. So I wanted to prove to them na kaya ko rin naman maglaro."

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Waiting for Orton (February 01, 2015)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]

PBA

There are five games left in the Sichuan Blue Whales schedule in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and Daniel Orton won’t be released to suit up for Purefoods in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup until he plays out his contract. It will take up to two weeks before Sichuan ends the season. At the moment, the Blue Whales are ranked No. 18 of 20 with an 8-29 record so they’re not bound for the playoffs.

Orton, 24, is averaging 14.6 points and 9.9 rebounds with Sichuan. Last December, he was signed up to replace Metta World Peace alongside other import Michael Efevberha of California State at Northridge. Orton is Purefoods coach Tim Cone’s choice as the Star Hotshots’ import for the second conference and while he’s still in China, Marqus Blakely was brought in on a temporary basis.

Blakely, 26, has played for Purefoods (formerly B-Meg and San Mig Coffee) in the last three editions of the Governors Cup so he’s familiar with Cone’s system. Blakely will again play for Purefoods in the third conference where the height limit for non-Asian imports is 6-5 (except for the last four placers of the Commissioner’s Cup with no limit). The Governors Cup will also feature Asian imports with a height limit of 6-3.

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Purefoods Star import Marqus Blakely tetss the defense of Globalport's Mark Isip. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Still licking its wounds from the team’s disappointing showing in the Philippine Cup, Purefoods Star received some help from old friend Marqus Blakely at just the right time for the squad.

“I’m usually on the losing side in the first conference, but Marqus came in and gave us a warm blanket,” Cone told sportswriters after the game.

The 6-foot-5 Blakely, a former Best Import awardee, was a dominant force in his first game back, finishing with 26 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks to lead the Grand Slam champion Purefoods Star Hotshots to a rousing start in the Commissioner’s Cup.

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