Resilient TNT survives ROS, sets up KO game with GinebraBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Talk ‘N Text just doesn’t want to go home.
At least not yet as the Tropang Texters survived their third straight do-or-die semifinals game and this time they weathered a storming comeback by Rain or Shine, 98-90, Monday night in the 2012 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“All we did tonight was to buy us a little bit more time,” said TNT head coach Chot Reyes. “Our situation hasn’t changed and so we have to come up with a game on Wednesday where we’re both fighting for our lives, Ginebra and ourselves.”
“So we’re just finding ways to win. Even without some of our key guys. We’d like to be happy unfortunately we can’t afford to be happy because there’s a very, very, very big game coming up on Wednesday,” added Reyes, who missed the services of Jared Dillinger and Harvey Carey due to injuries.
Paul Harris delivered the goods with 34 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
“He doesn’t wanna go home, he doesn’t want it to end and you know, the thing with Paul is that I can be very, very hard on him and really get into him and shout at him and he just continues playing and that’s why he’s here,” said Reyes.
Reyes though pointed out his “other guys” who keyed in TNT’s third consecutive semis win, specifically his big men, Ali Peek and Kelly Williams.
“I thought, Ali and Kelly really came up big defensively tonight,” he commended.
Peek and Williams only had six points each but they along with Harris teamed up to make the game miserable for ROS import Jamelle Cornley.
“And when we needed to come up with crucial stops in the fourth quarter, we found those stops that was just the story of this game,” Reyes said.
Peek also scored on a crucial putback that extended his team’s lead back to seven, 90-83, with 5:33 left.
Cornlet had 27 points but was terrible with his decision making down the stretch. He had opted to take a tough shot instead of kicking the ball out to a wide open Paul Lee before turning the ball over as he turned towards the baseline with the ball hitting his foot.
The Texters squandered an 18-point lead they built in the opening minutes of the third quarter as the Elasto Painters got going.
ROS tied the game twice with the last knot at 80-all before TNT went on a 12-3 blitz capped by an undergoal stab by Harris.
With the win, Talk ‘N Text set up a knockout game against fierce rival and crowd darling Barangay Ginebra on Wednesday pegged at 7:30pm in the same venue.
The Painters meanwhile, tangle with the B-Meg Llamados in the first game with the winner earning a Finals slot.
The loser will face the winner of the TNT-Ginebra in a playoff for the last Finals ticket on Friday.
Ranidel de Ocampo added 17 points.