Texters book Finals berth
The most dominant all-Filipino force in the PBA in recent years is back to defend its title against the league’s new emerging power.
Talk ‘N Text survived a gritty Alaska side last night, scoring an 83-78 Game 6 win in the Philippine Cup semifinals at Cuneta Astrodome that gave the Tropang Texters the shot at history they were aiming for ever since the start of the season.
The Texters, who are shooting to become the first team in 30 years to win this event three straight seasons, got the goods from former MVP Jimmy Alapag at the crunch and then tightened the noose on the Aces in the endgame to wrap up the series, 4-2.
They advance opposite Rain or Shine, the first finalist which completed a similar 4-2 win over San Mig Coffee last Thursday, in a best-of-seven series that starts on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“My first comment is to give some applause to Alaska,” Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black said. “They have grown by leaps and bounds in this conference and they are going to be tough to beat in the future.”
Jason Castro scored all of his 16 points in the first three periods for the Texters before Alapag drilled in three critical triples in one torrid stretch that had Talk ‘N Text zooming to an 80-71 lead from 69-67 heading into the final four minutes.
JV Casio completed a rare four-point play in the next Alaska offensive that sliced the deficit to five with 3:47 left, but the Aces wouldn’t score again until the final 8.4 seconds and the game already out of reach.
Rookie Calvin Abueva led the Aces with a career-high 23 points that went with 13 rebounds—his 11th double-double—but the usually reliable Cyrus Baguio finished with just three points in 43 minutes.
After that Casio four-point play off Alapag, the Aces muffed at least five attempts and threw the ball away at least two times, failing to make a dent on that 80-75 deficit.