MANILA, Philippines — Talk N’ Text flipped the switch in the fourth quarter and then pulled away with a 96-86 victory to clinch a semifinals spot Sunday in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After trying to find the opening for three quarters to seize control, the Texters — just like in their game one win in the quarterfinals last Friday, 100-93 — took over when they needed it most.
Two points from import Jerome Jordan put Talk N’ Text ahead 81-79 — the Texters have had a taste of the lead in the previous quarters, but this time, they pulled away for good.
“I give a lot of credit to the local players. They stepped up and delivered,” said head coach Norman Black after the game.
Following a floater from Petron import Henry Sims with 5:33 to go to pull his team within a point, Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo and Ryan Reyes built an 8-2 run for a 91-84 gap.
De Ocampo, Castro and Reyes had 17, 16 and 14 points, respectively, while Jimmy Alapag and Jordan added 12 and 11, in that order.
Marcio Lassiter led Petron Blaze with 23 points — 19 in the first half — along with nine rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
He, though, only had two in the payoff period where Petron was held to just 14 points in the final quarter.
Lassiter split his freethrows to bring the Boosters to just within five, 86-91, but his teammates couldn’t follow up as they missed at least four shots in their next possession.
Ronald Tubid had a clean view from the outside but missed twice, even as Arwind Santos and Lassiter misfired on their attempts.
According to head statistician Fidel Mangonon, the Petron/San Miguel Beer franchise missed the Final 4 for the 3rd straight conference with this kind of a format.
The Texters, meanwhile, entered the final four for the ninth straight time, which, as Black admits, is a relief considering what they went through this conference.
“It’s a good feeling to be in the semis. We basically struggled the whole conference. It’s good our defense caught up when it matters most,” said Black.