In a Game 4 that had a sprinkling of almost everything, Talk ‘N Text played its best game of the series last night and ran roughshod over B-Meg, 100-85, to level the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title playoffs again before the decade’s biggest crowd.
Six players, led by the 18 points of Jared Dillinger and Larry Fonacier, scored in twin digits for the Tropang Texters, who bounced back from a lethargic outing two nights ago to post the series’ most lopsided win in front of 18,696 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Talk ‘N Text was dominant while some B-Meg players seemed to have taken the night off as the Llamados trailed by 19 a couple of times before things got ugly with under two minutes left with ejections from both sides.
The defending champion Tropang Texters held the Llamados to just 11 points in the second quarter to wrest complete command and grab momentum and psychological edge going into the crucial fifth game on Wednesday.
Dillinger and Fonacier both snapped out of slumbers in the series and had their moments of brilliance in separate parts of the game even as Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo finally made their presence felt with a combined 22 points.
“Before the game, all our conversations were centered around coming out and playing good Talk ‘N Text basketball for 48 minutes,” coach Chot Reyes said. “I felt, to be honest about it, and which I told my guys, that we were lucky to be down 1-2 (after Game 3).
“I told them that we need to take advantage of that break, of stealing Game 2, and make sure that we capitalized with a great effort in this game,” Reyes continued.
Denzel Bowles, on the night he was named the conference Best Import, fired just 17 points and led the Llamados together with Joe Devance.
Marc Pingris had just four points and Peter June Simon was held down to just five, the first time in the last 12 games that he failed to hit at least 10 points.
“Bottom line was they came out and played with a high level of desperation that we didn’t match and respond to throughout the game,” said B-Meg coach Tim Cone, who was knocked down by a referee in the middle of a meaningless play.
“I need to do a better job of preparing our guys,” added Cone, who actually walked out of the court with one minute left to save himself “from getting into trouble.”
Pamboy Raymundo, Talk ‘N Text’s third-tier guard, almost triggered a free-for-all in just 14 seconds on the floor after planting an elbow to the face of Josh Urbiztondo while fighting a pick.
After he and Urbiztondo were separated, Joe Devance walked by Raymundo and threw the ball to the Talk ‘N Text reserve’s face, with Raymundo immediately retaliating by slamming Devance with an open hand to the back of the head.
Before the game, Mark Caguioa of Barangay Ginebra, out of action for exactly a month now, was honored as the Best Player of the Conference.
TALK N’ TEXT 100—Dillinger 18, Fonacier 18, Castro 15, Harvey 14, Alapag 12, De Ocampo 10, Reyes 9, Carey 4, Raymundo 0, Gamalinda 0, Williams 0, Alvarez 0, Lao 0, Peek 0.
B-MEG 85—Bowles 17, Devance 17, Urbiztondo 15, Yap 14, Intal 8, Simon 5, Pingris 4, Reavis 4, Barroca 1, Acuna 0, Gaco 0, Burtscher 0, Villanueva 0, De Ocampo 0.
Quarters: 25-24, 47-35, 73-60, 100-85