MANILA, Philippines—Ranidel de Ocampo completed a rare four-point play down the stretch to help Talk ‘N Text turn back wily Barako Bull, 101-90, Wednesday night and seize the last Finals ticket in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
De Ocampo’s dagger at the 2:35 mark gave the Tropang Texters a much-needed breathing space, 96-88, and more importantly put a halt to the streaking Energy.
“It’s always a special feeling to get into the Finals; that never gets old. A lot of props to the Barako Bull team,” said TNT head coach Chot Reyes.
“You know how it goes in a do-or-die game, it’s the team that makes the shots; when it matters that eventually comes out. And it just so happened in this game that Ranidel’s four-point play, I think, was the shot that mattered,” Reyes added.
De Ocampo finished with 18 points while Donnell Harvey added game-highs of 29 points and 14 rebounds.
TNT will face B-Meg in the best-of-seven championship series, which starts on Monday at the same venue.
Barako Bull kept it close with timely baskets every now and then. Ronald Tubid’s four straight points pulled the Energy to within four, 88-92, with 3:01 left.
But after that it was all TNT, sparked by De Ocampo’s clutch shot.
Gabe Freeman had team-high 22 points but was held scoreless in the final quarter. Danny Seigle chipped in with 21 points while Tubid ended up with 18 markers.