Talk ‘N Text knocks off listless Ginebra, enters semis
MANILA, Philippines — Relentless on both ends, top-seeded Talk ‘N Text continued its winning ways following a 97-84 beatdown of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to book the first semifinals ticket in the 2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Texters, who cruised to their 10th straight win after sweeping the nine-game elimination round, made quick work of the eighth-seeded Kings—putting the game away in the third quarter after outscoring their opponents, 37-19, in the third quarter to erect an imposing 79-53 lead entering the fourth quarter.
“All the credit goes to the players, really coming out wanting to win the game today. They played their hearts out. They deserve to be in the semifinals,” TNT head coach Norman Black told reporters.
“The players have the will to win, have the desire to win. The offense was clicking tonight and the defense was clicking,” Black said.
And with everything going for the Texters, the Kings, who shot poorly from the field, just didn’t have no chance.
Import Richard Howell easily came away with 41 points on 18-of-27 shooting from the field to go along with 22 rebounds to take charge for Talk ‘N Text.
Howell, the former North Carolina State standout, had 14 points in the third quarter alone—nearly outscoring the entire Ginebra squad which managed to put up just 19 points while giving up 37 points in that period.
“He’s a pretty good player in the States and a pretty good player here in the Philippines. I don’t think a lot of people realize how strong he is,” Black said of the workhorse Howell.
Former MVP Mark Caguioa had 19 points for Ginebra, which shot just 36.3 per cent from the field, but 12 of his total output came when the game was already pretty much decided with TNT up by a commanding margin.
After scoring 29 points in his Ginebra debut during an overtime loss to Rain or Shine Sunday, Gabe Freeman shot just 15 points on two-of-17 shooting from the field and grabbed 22 rebounds.
Gilas stars Ranidel de Ocampo and Jayson Castro tallied 15 and 13 points, respectively. National team mainstay Larry Fonacier chipped in 12 points on two-of-three shooting from long range.
The Texters will face the winner in the Rain or Shine-Meralco series where the Bolts are ahead 1-0 in their best-of-three affair which resumes on Wednesday.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.