Talk ‘N Text nears sweep of Rain or ShineBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Jayson Castro scored 19 points as Talk ‘N Text moved a win away to its third straight PBA Philippine Cup title after edging Rain or Shine, 89-80, Sunday night in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Finals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Texters closed the game on a frantic 16-4 run highlighted by a four triples, two coming from veteran point guard Jimmy Alapag.
“We put ourselves in good position that we really have to go for it (sweep) on Wednesday,” said TNT head coach Norman Black. “Once again, our defense held up for us.”
Alapag hit back-to-back treys to give TNT the separation it needed, 82-76, with 1:12 left.
Castro punched in the knockout blow, 87-76, with 1:46 remaining, pouncing on a costly turnover by Gabe Norwood.
“I think our three-point shooting bailed us out again. We shot the ball pretty well again from the three-points,” added Black, whose squad nailed nine triples as compared with Rain or Shine’s four.
Alapag came through with 15 points all in the second half, 11 in the final frame.
Chris Tiu paced Rain or Shine, which led by as much as nine, 70-61, with a conference-high 14 points.
Ranidel de Ocampo added 13 points, including a three that knotted the count at 76, midway through the payoff period.
Jervy Cruz tried to lead ROS back with a three-point play, 79-82, with 2:34 left to answer Alapag’s right corner triple.
Ryan Reyes drew the foul on Paul Lee and made both free throws to push TNT’s lead back to two possessions, 84-79, with 2:19 remaining before Castro’s cold-blooded shot.
The Elasto Painters led by nine after Beau Belga’s three-pointer with 10:59 left and it appeared as if Rain or Shine would break the game wide open.
But the Texters certainly had other plans in mind as they quickly responded with seven unanswered points to regain their form.
“I think it’s very important to keep the guys very focused on the task at hand,” said Black. “We don’t want to give Rain or Shine any breathing room.”
“We’ll just try to delay their party,” said ROS head coach Yeng Guiao.
No PBA team has ever come back from a 0-3 hole and win the series.