In one of the most unexpected turn of events in the current PBA Governors’ Cup, Talk ’N Text was unceremoniously ousted in the playoffs after a loss to Barangay Ginebra the other night.
Blame it on fatigue, says TNT coach Norman Black. Yes, agreed TNT’s top point guard Jimmy Apalag.
But give credit to Ginebra, said Alapag.
“We don’t want to take anything away from Ginebra as well. They made the plays down the stretch to win the game,” he added.
A case for fatigue is plausible. Four of TNT’s top players donned the national colors as members of Gilas Pilipinas in the emotional and energy-drenching FIBA Asia campaign.
The rigors of the campaign were such that most teams which had players in the national squad rested them before resuming their commitments in the PBA which was immediately after the FIBA Asia championship.
Aside from Alapag, the other TNT players who suited for the national team were Ranidel de Ocampo, Larry Fonacier and Jayson Castro. Black was also part of the Chot Reyes’ coaching staff.
The quartet were given three playing days rest. But it proved to be disastrous for Talk ‘N Text. They lost two of their next three games and when the players were called back, they looked like stragglers.
“Fatigue may have had an effect on our play, but still, no excuses,” said Alapag in a text message to The Bulletin. “We don’t want to use our stint with Gilas Pilipinas as an excuse, because it’s such a huge honor to play for the county.”
For his part, Black was more candid.
“Whether we like it or not, whether we I want to admit it or not, my guys are tired,” said Black in an interview with the sports website Spin.ph.
“The four guys who played for the national team who are my key players, they were not exactly the same players they were early in the year.”
“But I can’t really blame them, for what league or what country do you play for 12 months? Normally you give them a rest, we gave them two weeks (of rest). We probably made the biggest commitment to the national team and we know we’ll gonna pay the price as far as our preparation and conditioning (for the Governors Cup),” he added.
It marked the first time that the Tropang Texters failed to reach the playoffs, or since the 2009 Fiesta Cup. TNT had a stretch of 10 playoffs appearances, six in finals stints and four league titles – three in the Philippine Cup.