TNT-Ginebra playoff todayBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
AFTER getting a much-needed rest yesterday, Talk ‘N Text and Barangay Ginebra lock horns for the last quarterfinal slot in the PBA Governors’ Cup today at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
With the TNT-Ginebra game postponed yesterday because of flooding in most parts of Metro Manila caused by almost nonstop downpour, the Tropang Texters and the Gin Kings got the chance to cool their heels after a hard-fought game won by Talk ‘N Text on Sunday.
But at 7:15 p.m. today, they will be back in a do-or-die match with the winner advancing to clash with No. 1 Petron Blaze in the quarterfinals and the loser going on an early vacation, along with Air21.
The Texters got the key hits from old reliable Jimmy Alapag in a 113-99 victory that necessitated this KO match. The 2010 MVP went 3-for-3 from three-point distance for 12 points inside the final 6:26 that took the fight out of Ginebra.
Obviously, the Kings don’t want a repeat of that gigantic endgame effort from Alapag, who will be their main concern in the fight for the eighth and last playoff spot.
The winner marches on to clash with the Boosters on Thursday, needing to defeat Petron two successive times to advance to the Final Four.
Rain or Shine, the No. 4 seed, battles Globalport armed with the same privilege as Petron in the second game on Thursday.
San Mig Coffee and Meralco, which finished as the second and fourth seed, respectively, clash with No. 7 Alaska and No. 5 Barako Bull at the start of the quarterfinals tomorrow at Mall of Asia Arena.
Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black got several men to step up Sunday night when the Texters snapped out of a five-game rut, with five locals scoring at least 11 or more and John Ferriols contributing eight points. Ferriols also helped contain Ginebra import Dior Lowhorn at crunchtime.
Lowhorn finished with 31 points but was scoreless in the final 12 minutes as Black threw an assortment of men on him and made the Ginebra import bleed for his touches.
The loss was a painful one to swallow for reigning MVP Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio, Alapag’s backcourt mate at Gilas Pilipinas who was having a great game until Alapag took over.
Tenorio scored eight straight points that had Ginebra creeping within three of the Texters and he also had a steal off Alapag that made it look it would be his night in the end.
But that steal got Alapag going, as he came back to complete a three-point play before hitting those three treys inside the final two minutes.
Caguioa, meanwhile, had one of his best scoring nights in recent games, hitting 29 before going cold late in the fourth period.