Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters
|Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters|
Pepsi Mega Bottlers
Mobiline Phone Pals
Talk 'N Text Phone Pals
Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters
|Team colors||Yellow, Blue, and White
|Owner(s)||Manuel V. Pangilinan|
|Board governor||Ricky Vargas|
|Head coach||Norman Black|
(*) special championship
The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters is a professional basketball team currently owned by Smart Communications, a subsidiary of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), playing in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) since 1990.
The franchise began in 1990 when Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc. (PCPPI) acquired a PBA franchise. Under PCPPI, the franchise played under the names Pepsi and 7 Up. In 1996, the franchise came under the control of Pilipino Telephone Corporation (Piltel) and played under the name Mobiline. In 2001, the franchise was renamed Talk 'N Text after the operations of Piltel was absorbed by Smart Communications.
The team is currently one of two PBA teams under the control of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan – the other team being the MERALCO Bolts. To date, the franchise has won six official PBA titles (and one special PBA tournament championship) and remains as one of the league's powerhouses.
- 1 History
- 2 Talk 'N Text (Smart Communications, 2001–present)
- 2.1 Under foreign coaches
- 2.2 2003 All-Filipino Championship
- 2.3 Post-championship era
- 2.4 2004–05 season
- 2.5 2005-06 season
- 2.6 2006–07 season
- 2.7 The end of the Asi Taulava era
- 2.8 Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters
- 2.9 2009–10 season preparations
- 2.10 Japeth to TNT
- 2.11 2009–2010 season
- 2.12 2010–2011 Champions
- 2.13 2011–2012 Champions
- 2.14 2012–2013 Champions
- 2.15 2013-2014 season
- 3 Current roster
- 4 Head Coaches
- 5 Season-by-season records
- 6 Players of note
- 7 References
Pepsi-Cola/7-Up (Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc., 1990-1996)
Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc. was accepted as one of two new members of the PBA during the 1990 season, joining soft drink rival Pop Cola. They were known as the Pepsi Hotshots in their maiden year 1990, their first coach was Ed Ocampo, assisted by Olympian Bobby Littaua, and Team Manager was Steve Watson, after winning its inaugural game vs fellow expansion team Pop Cola, 149–130 with import Derek Hamilton scoring 77 points, the Hotshots lost all their remaining games in the first conference. The losing streak stretched into the All-Filipino, counting to a 15-game losing streak before finally winning again over Diet Sarsi formerly Pop Cola. In the third conference, San Miguel Beermen assistant coach Derrick Pumaren replaced Ed Ocampo as Hotshots head coach and the Pepsi franchise went 0 wins, 10 losses in the season-ending tournament.
In 1991, Pepsi acquired Manny Victorino from Presto, and team improved its number of won games, but still failed to make past eliminations in the first two conferences. They attempted to become a competitive team by offering a 5-year, P25 million contract to Purefoods TJ Hotdogs' top gun Alvin Patrimonio. However, Patrimonio to stayed with Purefoods after his mother team matched the offer. But despite this, this did not stop Pepsi from entering the semifinals and finishing fourth among the eight teams in the third conference.
In 1992, Pepsi acquired ROY Eugene Quilban in a trade which sent Jun Reyes to Alaska, the hotshots placed 7th in the first conference. After the Pepsi "349" controversy, the team was renamed as the 7-Up Uncolas.
7-Up would place runner-up in the 1992 Reinforced Conference. Their import was an NBA veteran point guard, Dell Demps. They would be swept by the Swift Mighty Meaties led by Tony Harris in the finals 4–0. . Prior to the finals, 7-Up and Swift were fined on a so-so game where Swift intentionally lose the match in order to eliminate Ginebra from the finals race. 7-Up was bannered by players Manny Victorino, Abet Guidaben, Eugene Quilban and Naning Valenciano. Quilban recorded 28 assists during a game that year, which is still a PBA record.
Despite getting 2nd overall pick Victor Pablo, 7-Up failed to reach the semifinals in the first two conferences of the season. In the third conference, the team reverted to Pepsi Hotshots. Pepsi eventually placed fourth in the 1993 Governor's Cup.
Before the 1994 PBA Governor's Cup, Pepsi and Sunkist were involved in a rare coaching trade that saw Derrick Pumaren moving to the RFM franchise for Yeng Guiao. Despite the coaching change, Pepsi's on-and-off performance continued with their best finish taking the third-place in the 1994 Governor's Cup with import Ronnie Coleman. In the 1995, even with a strong start in the Governor's Cup, in which they had a 5–2 win-loss card but never took home a trophy at the end of the tournament.
Pepsi was also known as a hard-luck PBA team because it never found considerable success after finishing runner-up in the 1992 Reinforced Conference. After it failed to land Alvin Patrimonio in 1991, the ballclub attempted again in 1995 to dangle a 5-year, P28.8 million contract to Sta. Lucia Realtors' main man Jun Limpot. However, Sta. Lucia matched the offer and Pepsi had to contend with blue-collar players in Alvin Teng (acquired from San Miguel in exchange for Victor Pablo), Dindo Pumaren (from Purefoods in exchange for Richie Ticzon), Eugene Quilban and Boy Cabahug to lead the team.
Mobiline (Pilipino Telephone Corporation, 1996–2001)
After the 1996 PBA All-Filipino Cup, the franchise came under the control of Pilipino Telephone Corporation (Piltel) and the team was renamed the Mobiline Cellulars. The records of the Pepsi team were retained. Point guard Eugene Quilban and power forward Alvin Teng lead the team.
In 1997, Mobiline acquired the first overall pick from Pop Cola and used it to draft Filipino-American Andrew John Seigle. The Cellulars also drafted Patrick Fran, Tony Boy Espinosa. Mobiline hired former San Miguel coach Norman Black and acquired 1995 Rookie of the Year Jeffrey Cariaso from Alaska via an offer sheet bearing a three-year contract worth P18.3 million.
In the All-Filipino, the Cellulars advanced to the semi-finals but faltered in the Commissioner's Cup with Isaish Morris as reinforcement. In the Governor's Cup, they paraded Artemus "Tee" McClary and hired a new coach in Derrick Pumaren and Tommy Manotoc as consultant. Mobiline posted a decent finish in the Governor's Cup but failed to enter the semis.
In 1998, the Phone Pals struggled in the All-Filipino with a 4–7 record. In the Commissioner's Cup, another change was done as it hired former Purefoods mentor Eric Altamirano. The Pals, like in the '97 Governor's Cup were eliminated in the quarterfinals with Terquin Mott as import.
Centennial Cup Champions
Andy Seigle and Jeffrey Cariaso were borrowed by the national team for the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. They captured the 1998 PBA Centennial (the Philippines was then celebrating its 100th anniversary of the independence from Spain) Cup by beating Shell by a hairline, 67–66, in overtime led by imports Silas Mills and McClary, with the help of veteran locals Glen Capacio and Al Solis. However, the Centennial Cup was a special tournament and the title was not considered as an official championship.
The records after the elimination round of the tournament was carried over in the Governor's Cup. The Pals retained their winning way and advanced to the finals in a rematch with the Zoom Masters. Mobiline held a 3–2 series lead but lost the last two games to wind up in second place. Mills would end up winning the Best Import of the Governor's Cup.
Asi Taulava era
Seeking for bigger things in 1999, Mobiline acquired Filipino-Tongan Pauliasi Taulava to man the Pals frontline along with Seigle. Mobiline started the All-Filipino with a 7–0 record before losing a crucial game to San Miguel. The Pals end up with the best record after the elimination phase but was defeated by a gritty Barangay Ginebra Kings squad despite a twice to beat advantage on Bal David's incredible last second shot.
The rest of the year, Mobiline would be eliminated in the quarters during the Commissioner's and Governor's Cup while Taulava's eligibility as a legitimate Filipino-foreigner was questioned. During the midseason, Mobiline traded Andy Seigle to Purefoods for veteran Jerry Codinera.
Taulava would be deported later in the year as the Pals were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the All-Filipino with new coach Louie Alas. The Pals wound up with the best record in the elimination phase of the Governor's Cup. After surviving a quarterfinals meeting with Barangay Ginebra, Purefoods eliminate Mobiline in four games. The Phone Pals finished 4th after losing to Batang Red Bull Thunder in a knockout game for third place.
In 2001, Mobiline tried to acquire Kenneth Duremdes through free agency, but Alaska matched Mobiline's offer sheet of a reported 48 million pesos, and Duremdes stayed with the Aces. The Phone Pals drafted former Manila Metrostar Gilbert Demape, but the Phone Pals, for the sixth time in seven conferences, were eliminated by top seed Shell in the quarterfinals. In the Commissioner's Cup, the Pals bannered Michigan University standout Jerod Ward who exploded for 61 points in his debut. Later, Taulava returned to the Philippines after an approval by the Justice Department but despite that, the Phone Pals failed to get past the quarterfinals. The Governor's Cup was also the same fate for the Phone Pals despite changing their name to Talk 'N Text and having Brandon Williams as import.
Talk 'N Text (Smart Communications, 2001–present)
|Talk 'N Text Phone Pals|
Beginning the 2001 Governors' Cup, the franchise became under the control of Smart Communications after the company absorbed the operations of Pilipino Telephone Corporation. The team changed its name to Talk 'N Text Phone Pals.
Under foreign coaches
Before the 2002 season, Alas was fired by Talk 'N Text and hired former UNLV coach Bill Bayno despite numerous calls by the nationalist Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines to ban the American mentor. Although they lost Asi Taulava and Patrick Fran to the National Pool, Talk 'N Text was bannered by Richie Frahm and Jerald Honeycutt, a replacement for an original import. The Phone Pals end up as the top team in the elimination phase of the Governor's Cup but suffered the same fate as 1999 when the eighth seed San Miguel Beermen upset the Pals.
But Talk 'N Text finally broke the spell in the Commissioner's Cup, led by Honeycutt and Pete Mickeal, the seventh seeded Phone Pals defeated Sta. Lucia in the quarterfinals and Alaska in a five game semis affair to enter their third Finals appearance in team history, and the first since 1998. In the end, Red Bull defeated Talk 'N Text in seven grueling games.
Bayno later left the team, but without some parting shots on the PBA when he accused the league of favoring the San Miguel Corporation teams.
In the All-Filipino, Taulava returned to the team after his national team stint in the Asian Games but the Phone Pals got the early boot in the quarterfinals under new head coach Paul Woolpert, another American coach who replaced the departed Bill Bayno.
In 2003, the Phone Pals used two first round picks to draft Fil-Americans Harvey Carey and Jimmy Alapag, who was with the RP national pool in 2002. The Pals struggled early in the All-Filipino and midway to that tournament, Woolpert left the team and was replaced with Ateneo coach Joel Banal, who led the Blue Eagles to the UAAP title in 2002.
2003 All-Filipino Championship
Since then, Talk 'N Text rose to the tournament and captured the All-Filipino Cup over defending champion Coca-Cola in six games. After an overtime win in Game Five, the Phone Pals became the first team since 1982 to come back from a 0-2 deficit to win the next four games after a hard-fought Game Six victory. Taulava was named as the PBA Finals MVP, after winning the Best Player of the Conference award.
They also qualified in the 2003 PBA Invitationals where four guest teams were invited. Joel Banal left the team for the moment to concentrate on his Ateneo Blue Eagles stint in the UAAP. The Phone Pals did not qualify for the semis but not without controversy. Needing to win by eight points over Red Bull Barako to qualify, the Phone Pals deliberately fouled several Red Bull players in the last two minutes to force an overtime or even reached the needed eight point margin. The game turned out to be more disgraceful when Jojo Manalo tried to hit a three-pointer on Red Bull's basket. The incident led to a hefty fine and a five game suspension to acting coach Ariel Vanguardia.
In the revived Reinforced Conference, Talk 'N Text was bannered by Damien Cantrell but the Phone Pals finished with a 7–6 mark, good for 4th place in Group B. They upset the top seeded Red Bull Barako 2–1 that ended with Jimwell Torion's clothesline on Jimmy Alapag's face that led to the latter's suspension for eight months, which was later reduced.
In the semis, Talk 'N Text was swept by eventual champions Coca-Cola, but the Phone Pals captured third place in the tournament after beating Sta. Lucia in a one game playoff for third place.
Asi Taulava became the first Filipino-foreign player since Ricardo Brown in 1985 to win the coveted Most Valuable Player award. Jimmy Alapag won the Rookie of the Year honors to wrap up the Phone Pals' incredible year.
Joel Banal resigned as Ateneo head coach to concentrate on the Talk 'N Text team. In the 2004 PBA Fiesta Conference, the Phone Pals were bannered by 2002 MVP Willie Miller and Yancy de Ocampo in separate deals with Red Bull and FedEx.
The Phone Pals made it to the semis of the tournament, but lost in a three-game showdown with crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra Kings.
In the 2004-05 Philippine Cup, the Phone Pals placed second in the classification phase to qualify for the semi-finals. The Phone Pals swept the Shell Turbo Chargers but was defeated in six games by Barangay Ginebra.
During the said tournament, Asi Taulava was considered by the Department of Justice as one of six Filipino-foreigners suspected of falsifying their documents. Taulava was suspended by the PBA indefinitely, along with five other players.
Taulava gained some advantage from the Quezon City RTC, but the PBA still didn't gave Taulava the go-signal. In the Finals of the Philippine Cup, the Phone Pals used Taulava despite the league's refusal to allow Taulava. Talk 'N Text reasoned a court order that allows Asi to play in the series. The Phone Pals wound up winning Game One by double figures, but the game was forfeited two days later, awarding the win to Barangay Ginebra. The Phone Pals later announced that they will not allow Taulava to play for the rest of the series.
In the 2004-05 Fiesta Conference, the Phone Pals finished first after the classification phase, earning an outright semi-finals berth. In the semis, the Phone Pals eliminating the soon departing Shell Turbo Chargers, 3-1, to face San Miguel in the finals series.
Taulava was once again used by Talk 'N Text, but this time the league gave the go-signal for Taulava to return and play for his mother ballclub. Asi showed rustiness during the series as the Phone Pals lost the series to San Miguel, 4-1. Willie Miller was named as the Best Player of the Conference.
The Phone Pals were considered as top favorites in the 2005–06 Fiesta Conference. However, the Phone Pals lost in five grueling games to Air21 in the quarterfinals. During the series, import Damien Cantrell was replaced by former Detroit Piston and NBA champion Darvin Ham. But Ham did not fit in Talk 'N Text's system and struggled.
After the disappointing finish in the said tournament, Joel Banal resigned as head coach and was replaced by former amateur coach Derrick Pumaren. The change made some good strides in the early stages of his second stint with Talk 'N Text. With Pumaren using the star players Asi Taulava and Jimmy Alapag, and mixing Harvey Carey and seldom-used rookie Mark Cardona, the Phone Pals went 5-4 through nine games of the Philippine Cup.
However, the Phone Pals suffered three succeeding losses, prompting team officials to land Ren-Ren Ritualo from Air21 for Leo Avenido and a future first round draft pick, and Don Allado from Alaska for Willie Miller, John Ferriols and a future first round pick on May 8. The move saw the Phone Pals as a potential title contender with the squad boasting a group of star players from their past teams along with Taulava, Alapag, Cardona and Carey. Even with a strong lineup, the trade put the Phone Pals in a deeper hole losing three more games before a win against Coca-Cola gave them a disappointing 6–10 card.
In the wildcard phase, the Phone Pals did not win a single game in the round-robin format. In their initial game, Talk 'N Text lost to Barangay Ginebra, eliminating them from quarterfinal contention before losing their final two games to Air21 and Sta. Lucia.
The Phone Pals had a shot of taking the No. 1 pick in the draft but they traded that rights to Air21 in a trade months ago, which dealt a big blow to the franchise. Rumors then speculated that TNT management was set to make drastic changes for the team after their disappointing season.
Talk 'N Text has released Poch Juinio while the contracts of Vergel Meneses and Chris Cantonjos were not renewed, leaving the team with only 10 players. The Phone Pals participated in the 2006 NBA Summer Pro League. In the 2006 PBA Draft, the Phone Pals selected Mark Andaya in the first round, their only pick in the draft.
Talk 'N Text managed to start off big in the 2006-07 PBA Philippine Cup, but a string of losses put them beneath the standings. After a late surge, followed by a crucial Christmas Day victory over Ginebra, gave the team a 10–8 record and a quarterfinals berth against Purefoods. The Phone Pals won the series 3–1 dethroning the defending Philippine Cup champions by winning the next three games by convincing margins. At the semifinals, they took crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra Kings to six games but they were eliminated by the eventual champions; they defeated Red Bull Barako in the third-place game.
In the 2007 PBA Fiesta Conference, the Phone Pals barged into the Finals after surviving a quarterfinal scare against the Air21 Express and upsetting first seed Red Bull Barako to face the Alaska Aces. The Aces drew first blood by taking game 1 but fell behind with a 1-2 series deficit after newly crowned Best Player of the Conference Mark Cardona scoring big. Newly crowned MVP candidate Willie Miller erupted for 29 points to tie the series. Cardona then had an answer when he top-scored all locals on Game 5.
Cardona gave the ball away in the dying seconds for the Aces to tie the series 3-all. Game 7 was a tight affair but the Aces broke through with a Miller steal off Cardona to seal Talk 'N Text's third successive Finals defeat.
The end of the Asi Taulava era
Talk 'N Text was a rising powerhouse team after the 2007 Fiesta Conference Finals, with a star-studded line-up bannered by Asi Taulava, Jimmy Alapag, Don Allado, Jay Washington, Harvey Carey, Renren Ritualo, Mac-Mac Cardona, and Yousif Aljamal. However, former MVP Taulava's point production dipped when he opted to concentrate on the defensive end. His dismal performance in the team cost him his slot at the Phone Pals roster. On November 26, 2007, the Asi Taulava era at Talk 'N Text officially ended when the prized Fil-Tongan center was shipped to the Coca-Cola Tigers in exchange for Ali Peek and a 2008 first-round draft pick.
Taulava and the Tigers then had a 5-game winning streak, while the Phone Pals could only muster a three-game winning streak of their own. On the final game of the elimination round, with TNT needing to win to force a playoff for the last quarterfinal berth, Taulava and the Tigers beat the Phone Pals to deny them the playoff and instead arranged a sudden death wildcard game between the two teams. With Taulava and another ex-Phone Pal Mark Telan playing inspired basketball, the Tigers eliminated the #6 seed Phone Pals in the first wildcard round.
This led to rumors of team management firing Derrick Pumaren and his staff but after a meeting with the players, it was decided to defer the decision until after the next tournament, the 2008 PBA Fiesta Conference.
In the 2008 Fiesta Conference, Talk 'N Text had a 5-game losing streak after starting with a 7–3 record to finish with a 9–9 record. This caused them to go through the wildcard phase once again; after beating Purefoods in a fight-marred contest, the Phone Pals dropped at the second wildcard round against the Sta. Lucia Realtors to deny them of quarterfinal qualification for the 2007–08 season.
Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters
The team announced a new name for the 2008–09 season, the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters. The Tropang Texters drafted Jared Dillinger and Singapore Slingers' Jayson Castro, who had left the team after the team left Australia's National Basketball League, center Robert Reyes. The Texters relied on Mark Cardona to finish with a 11–7 record, good for second place and a semifinal berth, behind Alaska. Cardona participated in the last two plays that led to their Finals qualification, beating the San Miguel Beermen in Game 6. The Texters and the Aces faced off anew in the Finals, this time with Talk 'N Text winning in seven games, thanks to Cardona, Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo's plays down the stretch in Game 7.
2009–10 season preparations
Japeth to TNT
After a lot of deliberation, Japeth Aguilar finally was ousted from the Burger King Whoppers as he was forwarded to the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters in exchange for four first round future picks (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014) and undisclosed amount of money.
The TNT walk out against Ginebra during their Game 4 of the Quarter Finals and they failed to defend their title. As a preparation to the Fiesta Conference they traded Ren-Ren Ritualo & Yancy de Ocampo to the Air 21 in exchange for JR Quinahan, Mark Yee & Aaron Aban.
The TNT won the Championship in the 2010-2011 Philippine Cup on February 4, 2011. They defeated the San Miguel Beermen in Game 6. They finish the game 95–82. The Finals MVP are Jayson Castro and Jimmy Alapag. This is the 3rd Championship of the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters. 2 championships came from coach Chot Reyes.
The TNT won the Championship in the 2011 Commissioner's Cup on May 8, 2011 in an epic OT win against the Barangay Ginebra Kings in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series. They finish the game 99–96. The Finals MVP are still Jayson Castro and Jimmy Alapag. This is the 4th Championship of the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters. 3 championships came from coach Chot Reyes.
Coming into the Governor's Cup, TNT were heavy favorites as they aimed for the rare triple crown conference. They ended up at solo first place in the elimination with a 6–2 win-loss record, and added three wins against two losses in the semifinal round to secure the first finals seat eventually facing the depleted Petron Blaze Boosters in a full seven game series, which started with a buzzer beater win by Petron. Their shot at the Grandslam was revived when they recovered from a 3–2 deficit to force a Game 7 but eventually lost to Petron, 85-73. Jimmy Alapag was still named season MVP. But there was one interview that changed their franchise face.
The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters Make 2nd Straight Philippine Cup Chamipions 2011–12
The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters Made History In the PBA. They won their 3rd Championship againstRain or Shine Elasto Painters and Tropang Texters swept the series, 4–0
They qualified in eliminations,finishing with 8-6 record, but got lost to San Mig Coffee Mixers in best of 3 matches.
Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters roster
|Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters head coaches|
- Records from the 2011–12 PBA season:
|Conf.||Team name||Elimination round||Playoffs|
|PHI||Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters||1st/10||12||2||.857||Quarterfinals
|Talk 'N Text** 105, Air21 100
Talk 'N Text 4, Alaska 2
Talk 'N Text 4, Rain or Shine 0
|Talk 'N Text 2, Petron 0
Barangay Ginebra 3, Talk 'N Text 2
|GOV||9th/10||3||6||.333||8th-seed playoff||Barangay Ginebra 110, Talk 'N Text 102|
|Total elimination round||22||15||.659||2 semifinal appearances|
|Total playoffs||13||6||1.000||1 Finals appearances|
|Total 2012–13||35||21||.000||1 championships|
|Total franchise||530||526||.502||6 championships|
**team had the twice-to-beat advantage
Players of note
Members of the PBA's 25 greatest players
- Jerry Codiñera - played for the Mobiline Phone Pals from 1999 to 2001.
- Abet Guidaben - played for 7/Up-Pepsi squad from 1990 to 1993.
- Vergel Meneses - "The Aerial Voyager" played for Talk 'N Text in the 2006 Philippine Cup.
Best Import of the Conference
- Ronnie Coleman - 1994 PBA Governors' Cup
- Silas Mills - 1998 PBA Governors' Cup
- Jerald Honeycutt - 2002 PBA Commissioner's Cup and 2005 PBA Fiesta Conference
|Awards and achievements|
|PBA Centennial Cup Champions
|PBA All-Filipino Cup Champions
Barangay Ginebra Kings
Sta. Lucia Realtors
Purefoods Tender Juicy
|PBA Philippine Cup Champions
Purefoods Tender Juicy
San Mig Super Coffee Mixers
Red Bull Thunder
|PBA Commissioner's Cup Champions