MANILA, Philippines — Talk N’ Text leaned on its suffocating defense down the stretch and finished off Alaska, 83-78, Friday in game six of their semifinals duel in the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The Texters held the Aces to just three points in the final 3:47 of the game to clinch their sixth trip to the finals in the last six conferences — though, this time, under a new coach.
“I’m happy for my players, they worked hard for this and they deserve to be in the finals,” said head coach Norman Black, who is looking to continue his winning ways from amateur to the pros.
Jayson Castro led the Texters with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists while Jimmy Alapag — who made his impact in the second half — added 15 points.
Alapag unleashed a triple, before Larry Fonacier, Ranidel de Ocampo and Jared Dillinger delivered the buckets to keep the Texters ahead.
But After JVee Casio made it a five-point game with under four minutes to go, Talk N’ Text then clamped down on defense and foiled any signs of a comeback by the Aces.
Calvin Abueva, who was the source of energy of Alaska from tip-off, could not see the light underneath the hoops with veteran Ali Peek shadowing his every move.
Abueva finished with 23 points, but only managed a basket in the fourth quarter and had all of his attempts in the clutch thwarted.
Black, though, admits that Alaska was just a “tough nut to crack,” and commended its vast turnaround this All-Filipino conference.
“I give my applause to Alaska. They’ve grown leaps and bounds this conference,” said Black, who is on his 15th finals appearance in the PBA.
Talk N’ Text, gunning for a third straight title in the homegrown conference, faces Rain or Shine in a best-of-seven series starting on Wednesday.
“Rain or Shine offers a completely different package as far as competition is concerned. They play very physical inside in offense and defense,” Black said.