Texters still in title hunt, rip BoltsBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Ranidel de Ocampo was near-perfect in leading Talk ‘N Text to an easy 108-84 win over sister squad Meralco last night as the Tropang Texters stayed alive in the championship hunt of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
De Ocampo finished with 24 points, Japeth Aguilar played his worthiest game this season with 20 points and 10 rebounds and four other Texters dropped 10 markers or more as TNT nailed a sixth win in 11 games.
While they remained near the bottom of the standings despite the win, the Texters remained in contention for a playoff slot for the second title berth which they can achieve by sweeping their last three games.
“We have no other choice. We have to win,” Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes said. “I’d like to have two of our previous games back. But that’s basketball, you can’t win them all.”
De Ocampo hit all his three triple tries, made 5-of-6 two-pointers, and was perfect in five attempts from the stripe, practically dramatizing how easy the night was for the Texters.
Reyes was able to use 11 men in the first half alone, which the Texters closed out with a 21-point lead, before a 33-point bubble at the halfway point of the fourth gave him the chance to clear his entire bench.
The loss was the third straight for Meralco in the round, and eighth in 12 games overall for the Bolts.
Mario West led the Bolts with 21 points, with Mac Cardona shooting 13 despite not attempting at all in the first quarter and finishing scoreless in the first half.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine tries to formalize its entry into the championship series today when the Elasto Painters battle the red-hot Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in a lone game also scheduled at the Big Dome.
Tip-off is at 8 p.m. with a win giving Rain or Shine its first-ever title series appearance even as the Kings gun for a third straight win in the round that would keep them well within the championship hunt.
TALK ’N TEXT 108—De Ocampo 24, Aguilar 20, Alapag 12, Williams 11, Harris 10, Peek 8, Castro 7, Fonacier 5, Alvarez 5, Raymundo 4, Gamalinda 2, Aban 0, Lao 0.
MERALCO 84—West 21, Cardona 13, Daa 11, Mercado 9, Bulawan 8, Taulava 6, Hugnatan 5, Ballesteros 4, Reyes 4, Borboran 3, Ross 0, Timberlake 0, Artadi 0.
Quarters: 31-16, 64-43, 89-63, 108-84