Barako Bull a win from ousting TNTBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
USING a great defensive effort in the first half and playing steadily down the stretch, Barako Bull upended Talk ‘N Text, 85-81, in another physical contest last night that moved the Energy within another win of the franchise’s second PBA title series stint.
The Energy held the star-studded Tropang Texters to 31 points in the first two periods and built leads of as large as 21 points in the third to pull out the win at the Cuneta Astrodome and earn two chances at making the Commissioner’s Cup’s Last Dance.
With a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, coach Junel Baculi said he believes that the key to wrapping it all up lies in Game 4 tomorrow.
“We’ll try to slay a giant on Monday,” Baculi told reporters after getting 27 points, 14 rebounds, and a lot of intangibles from Gabriel Freeman in the upset win. “Because if they (Texters) win on Monday, I think we’ll be in trouble.”
Teams taking a 2-1 lead after a 1-1 tie have won 19 of the past 27 times that it happened.
Willie Miller fired 17 markers and had six assists, and Mick Pennisi had a crucial triple and a free throw that sealed the deal with 26.1 seconds left as the underdog Energy pushed the defending champions’ backs hard to the wall.
Talk ‘N Text’s cause was not helped any by the ejection of Jimmy Alapag with 4:37 left because of a second technical foul for a second motion on Ronald Tubid. Alapag scored 10 points in the third and was instrumental in the TNT comeback.
“We needed to show the intensity, effort and desire on both ends tonight and they showed it,” Baculi said as his charges rebounded from a 25-point Game 2 blowout on Thursday.
A Miller layup that capped a 12-2 run with 8:55 left in the third period bloated a 42-31 halftime lead for the Energy to 54-33. But Barako Bull still needed to weather a late Talk ‘N Text storm to move in position for a second crack at a PBA title.
The Barako Buill franchise made the finals for the only time in the 2008 Fiesta Conference as Air21, and was within a win of clinching the best-of-seven series opposite Ginebra only to lose the last two games under Bo Perasol.
Those 31 points in the first half were a conference-low for the Texters as import Donnell Harvey was held to just four in that stretch.
BARAKO 85—Freeman 27, Miller 17, Pennisi 15, Seigle 14, Tubid 8, Salavador 2, Pena 2, Aquino 0, Najorda 0, Allado 0, Arboleda 0.
TALK ’N TEXT 81—Harvey 19, Carey 15, Alapag 14, Castro 11, Williams 7, Fonacier 7, Dillinger 3, Reyes 3, De Ocampo 2, Gamalinda 0.
Quarters: 19-17, 42-31, 67-57, 85-81