MANILA—In command all night long, Petron Blaze moved within a whisker of completing what many thought was highly improbable.
The Boosters picked Talk ‘N Text apart in all four quarters for a 93-80 victory and a 3-2 lead in their PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-seven title series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Getting everyone to contribute on both ends, the Boosters shut down the mighty Talk ‘N Text offensive machine right from the get-go, putting the Tropang Texters’ celebrated quest for a Grand Slam in serious jeopardy.
The Boosters led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter before quelling numerous Talk ‘N Text uprisings with a team-centered pattern that befuddled the Texters no end.
“We played 48 minutes with energy. We did not relax and our defense was good,” Petron coach Ato Agustin said in Filipino. “Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. We had a great start, limiting them to nine points in the first quarter.”
Anthony Grundy scored 26 points and had 11 rebounds; Arwind Santos scattered 20 that went with 14 boards; and Danny Ildefonso sustained his rejuvenation with 13 markers and 10 rebounds to lead the Petron attack.
Ildefonso, who hit the game-winner in the series opener, knocked down two crucial long jumpers at the height of the last Talk ‘N Text comeback that gave the Boosters an 85-73 lead going into the final 2:20.
The Boosters held the Texters to nine points in the first quarter, their lowest in the Chot Reyes era, for a 19-9 lead.
Jason Castro, topscorer for TNT in Game 4 and co-Finals MVP with Jimmy Alapag in the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cups, did not play because of a bruised right knee.
“They lost a lot with Castro out,” Agustin acknowledged as the Texters missed the 17.8 points and 5.3 rebounds that the stocky Castro gave them in the first four games of the Finals.
Alapag had three turnovers in the first quarter alone for the Texters. Coming into the contest, the 5-foot-7 guard was averaging just two blunders in the Finals for Talk ‘N Text.
PETRON 93—Grundy 26, Santos 20, Ildefonso 13, Miranda 11, Cabagnot 7, Duncil 6, Hubalde 3, Salvacion 3, Baclao 2, Guevarra 2, Pennisi 0.
TALK N’ TEXT 80—Reyes 14, Williams 13, Peek 11, Fonacier 9, De Ocampo 8, Carey 8, Alapag 8, Reynolds 5, Dillinger 2, Aban 2.
Quarters: 19-9, 47-38, 73-58, 93-80