ANTIPOLO—The real Talk ‘N Text team— sharp, unforgiving and refusing to be bullied, just as Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi feared—showed up last night and restored order in this side of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup’s Final Four.
The Tropang Texters played with a lot more heart, a lot more physicality, and dominated the Energy practically all night to score a 123-98 triumph that squared their best-of-five series after two games at the Ynares Center here.
Talk ‘N Text just rode out a hot first quarter by Barako Bull import Gabriel Freeman before putting on the skates, zooming to a 10-point lead at halftime and playing with complete control the rest of the way to regain momentum in the series.
Kelly Williams was the epitome of the heart that the Texters showed, electing to play when he could have rested to contribute 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks despite a fractured cheekbone.
And then there’s Ryan Reyes, who put an end to Freeman’s rampage from the second quarter on as the rest of the squad was fluid offensively, allowing the Texters to deal the Energy one of their worst losses in the tournament.
“I don’t know if it is still physically possible in the next game, but it’s going to be more physical,” Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes said. “Like I told the players, we have to fight, if literally, so be it. We can’t allow them to bully us.”
Talk ‘N Text was a far cry from the team that took a sound beating in the series opener on Tuesday, hitting 14 triples last night compared to just six in Game 1.
“Last game we were completely blown out,” coach Reyes continued. “They drew first blood, we made adjustments. We have to be prepared for the adjustments that they will make for the next game.”
Donnell Harvey, an NBA veteran with five teams, rebounded from a nine-point Game 1 effort with 24, completely outclassing Freeman and mocking all defenses thrown at him.
Ranidel De Ocampo contributed 18 and Larry Fonacier drilled in 14 and together with Williams, were part of six locals that scored 10 or more.
After shooting 15 points in the first period and carrying the Energy to several eight-point leads in the first quarter, Freeman was good for only five the rest of the way.
TALK ‘N TEXT 123—Harvey 24, De Ocampo 18, Fonacier 14, Reyes 13, Williams 12, Alapag 12, Castro 10, Dillinger 9, Carey 6, Raymundo 3, Gamalinda 2, Aguilar 0, Alvarez 0, Lao 0.
BARAKO 98—Freeman 20, Allado 20, Seigle 16, Tubid 10, Miller 10, Aquino 6, Najorda 5, Salvador 5, Pena 4, Arboleda 2, Cervantes 0, Pennisi 0.
Quarters: 24-25, 55-45, 88-76, 123-98