Texters, Aces nip tough opponentsBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Tony Mitchell scored 35 points and Larry Fonacier added 19 coming off the bench as a Talk ‘N Text crew that coach Norman Black said continues to struggle pounded out a 102-95 decision over Globalport in the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations.
Mitchell got all the help he needed in the fourth quarter as the Tropang Texters snapped a two-game losing streak and got back to level 2-2 before a fair-sized crowd at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Fonacier hit 3-of-6 triple tries and fellow comebacking national players Jason Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo also finished in twin digits as the Texters denied the Batang Pier a chance to rewrite their franchise-best start after Globalport dropped to 2-2.
Globalport, which led just once at 2-0, has never had a start better than 2-1 in its first three conferences in the league. In the last Commissioner’s Cup, the Batang Pier lost their last 11 games after taking a 2-1 start.
Alaska won a second straight game later in the night by escaping with a 102-99 decision of Barangay Ginebra to rise to 2-1.
Wendell McKines hit 11 points in the fourth period, including the decisive layup off a Cyrus Baguio pass as the Aces dealt the Gin Kings a second straight defeat in a 1-3 card.
“We’re just not a very good team right now and every game will be tough for us,” Black told reporters as he expounded on how his side is adjusting to the return of Castro, Fonacier and De Ocampo before making some more adjustments with a fourth PH team stalwart, Jimmy Alapag, set to return this week.
De Ocampo finished with 11 points, a vast improvement from the two he had in a narrow loss to Meralco last Friday when he went 1-of-10 from the field.
“We’re just trying to hang in there, get enough wins,” added Black, who won a Grand Slam with San Miguel in 1989 and a 10th title when he returned to the PBA in the Philippine Cup this year. “It’s going to take some time before we get adjusted.”
The Batang Pier were in the game the whole night and actually came within five points in the final 35 seconds only for Kelly Nabong and import Markeith Cummings to commit crucial blunders that sealed their doom.
Cummings paced the Batang Pier with 33 points, with Gary David shooting 15 and Jay Washington 14 that went with 10 rebounds.
Sol Mercado was the fourth man in twin digits for Globalport. He also had eight rebounds and seven assists in a brilliant all-around effort at the point guard spot.
Even if Black does not truly like that way they are playing at the moment, he is confident that his Texters will get their acts together at the right time.
“The goal every conference is to get better at the end of the conference (during the playoffs),” Black said.
TALK ‘N TEXT 102—Mitchell 35, Fonacier 19, Castro 12, De Ocampo 11, Reyes 8, Al-Hussaini 6, Anthony 5, Aban 5, Peek 1, Carey 0.
GLOBALPORT 95—Cummings 33, David 15, Washington 14, Mercado 10, Hayes 8, Alonzo 5, Nabong 4, Lingganay 4, Salvador 2, Buensuceso 0, Miller 0.
Quarters: 26-19, 49-44, 77-75, 102-95
ALASKA 102—McKines 27, Abueva 18, Baguio 18, Espinas 12, Thoss 12, Casio 11, Hontiveros 4, Jazul 0, Eman 0, Dela Cruz 0.
GINEBRA 99—Lowhorn 35, Baracael 20, Caguioa 16, Ellis 10, Tenorio 8, Helterbrand 6, Wilson 4, Urbiztondo 0, Mamaril 0.
Quarters: 24-14, 50-40, 70-76, 102-99