Hot Texters build 2-0 semis cushion
MANILA, Philippines—Working hard against a decimated foe, Talk ‘N Text gutted out a 94-87 victory over Rain or Shine at Cuneta Astrodome Wednesday night to move within another win of sweeping the Elasto Painters and making the title series of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Tropang Texters got the lift in the fourth quarter from Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro in scuttling the Painters, who were already three key local men short before losing import Wayne Chism halfway through the second period.
Game 3 is set Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Texters can wrap it all up in the 8 p.m. game while keeping their perfect conference alive.
Jervy Cruz, Chris Tiu and JR Quiñahan were on the injured list before the game while Chism twisted his left knee after a fall with 5:11 left before halftime and never returned.
But Rain or Shine fought harder when Chism was helped into the locker room, even taking a 69-65 lead early in the fourth period only to give in because of the immense firepower that the Texters packed.
“We will try to finish this on Friday (in Game 3) and move on to the next round,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.
Meanwhile, Air21 shoots for a commanding 2-0 lead against San Mig Coffee Thursday.
Game time is 8 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao with the Express trying to duplicate a 103-100 upset win pounded out Tuesday night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
In other news, the league on Wednesday suspended three game officials who worked Games 1 of the Talk ‘N Text-Rain or Shine and Air21-San Mig Coffee series.
The officials were sanctioned after missing an obvious traveling violation on Air21’s Asi Taulava with just over a minute left that resulted in a seven-point lead by the Express.
Jimmy Alapag also had his left foot out of bounds when he saved a crucial possession for the Tropang Texters against the Elasto Painters in a 91-85 Game 1 win, a glaring error that almost led to a bench-clearing incident involving Talk ‘N Text import Richard Howell and Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
Guiao was fined P30,000 for giving Howell a tap in the mid-section, even as Cliff Hodge of Meralco, which was ousted by the Painters a couple of days ago, was also fined P20,000 for a flagrant foul 2 on Jeff Chan.
TALK ‘N TEXT 94—De Ocampo 20, Castro 19, Williams 14, Alapag 14, Howell 12, Fonacier 7, Carey 4, Seigle 2, Canaleta 2, Aban 0, Reyes Jai 0, Reyes Ryan 0, Baclao 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 87—Belga 16, Araña 14, Almazan 12, Chism 10, Tang 10, Lee 10, Norwood 5, Rodriguez 4, Chan 2, Nuyles 2, Ibañes 2.
Quarters: 21-17, 43-38, 65-64, 94-87