Resilient Texters force 7th gameBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
GAME TOMORROW (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6 p.m.—B-Meg vs Talk ‘N Text
TALK ‘N Text, a team familiar with comebacks in the biggest stages, just put itself on the verge of completing another one.
The Tropang Texters dragged the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title series into a deciding Game 7 after shooting down B-Meg, 92-82, with Jason Castro acting as the fourth quarter sparkplug before more than 20,000 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Nursing two bad ankles, Castro dropped 14 points in the payoff frame as the defending champions completed a comeback from 15 points down in the second quarter to post their biggest win of the series.
But before Castro came up with his heroics, Ranidel de Ocampo, blasted publicly by coach Chot Reyes for not having his mind in the series, exploded for 15 points that helped keep the Texters in the thick of things.
“The only difference was we made some shots today,” Reyes told scribes, while pointing out that they allowed the same total to B-Meg in a lopsided Game 5 loss.
Talk ‘N Text drained 14 triples for the night which tied the second most all-time in Finals history.
Two of those came in the fourth period, with the last one, coming from Castro, making it 84-73 with 3:57 left.
The Texters have forged remarkable comebacks this season. They were down, 1-3, against Petron in the semifinals of the Philippine Cup before advancing to the Finals, where they eventually beat Powerade. Talk ‘N Text also came back from 1-2 down against Barako Bull in the best-of-five semifinals in this tournament.
The Texters held the Llamados to a triple for the first 6:26 of the fourth period and hit 12 unanswered points that opened up a 79-66 lead from 67-66 going into the final 5:52.
For a while, it looked like the Llamados were going to run away with the win after zooming to a 15-point lead in the second quarter behind Denzel Bowles and James Yap.
But the Llamados blew that cushion with a sloppy end to the first half, allowing the Texters to wrest the upperhand, 50-48, after Castro beat the game clock with a triple off the outstretched arms of Josh Urbiztondo.
NOTES: Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach was at the Big Dome last night, and went to the press room before the game. One reporter remarked: “Thanks coach, for everything you’re doing for Manny Pacquiao,” to which the humble, Parkinson’s disease-stricken Roach replied: “It’s my pleasure. He’s making me look good.”
TALK ‘N TEXT 92—Castro 25, Dillinger 16, De Ocampo 15, Harvey 11, Reyes 11, Fonacier 6, Alapag 4, Williams 2, Peek 2, Gamalinda 0, Carey 0.
B-MEG 82—Bowles 33, Yap 27, Intal 5, Villanueva 5, De Ocampo 4, Barroca 2, Urbiztondo 2, Devance 2, Simon 2, Acuna 0, Gaco 0, Burtscher 0, Pingris 0, Reavis 0.
Quarters: 19-27, 50-48, 67-63, 92-82