San Mig Coffee ends Talk ‘N Text’s streak to take finals opener
Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
MANILA, Philippines—San Mig Coffee did what had not been done to Talk ‘N Text before Friday night.
The Mixers, supposedly the team with the tired legs, outpaced the well-rested Tropang Texters in a 95-80 win in the finals opener of the 2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We carried over our momentum from our last game. I thought that carried over and that kind of gave us that mental lift,” San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone told reporters.
“And then they obviously weren’t sharp tonight. They made some uncharacteristic turnovers, missed some uncharacteristic threes that normally they would make and the game kind of turned on those things and that just fueled our momentum when they struggled a little bit,” Cone speaking of Talk ‘N Text’s woes.
The Mixers used a big third quarter that turned a closely-contested game to a one-sided affair with veteran swingman PJ Simon and rookie Ian Sangalang combining for 18 points, outscoring the entire Texters by a point in that period to lead, 70-57, entering the final frame.
Two-time MVP James Yap led San Mig Coffee, which had six players in double-figure scoring, with 17 points while Simon finished with 16 points.
Mark Barroca collected 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals while also making life miserable for e Texters’ guards Jayson Castro and Jimmy Alapag with his unrelenting on-ball defense.
The Texters, like they always do, kept their heads held high coming out of the third quarter huddle and looked primed in mounting a comeback. But the Mixers clearly had other plans in mind.
A turnaround jumper by Joe Devance, who went scoreless through three quarters, over Ranidel de Ocampo before a four-point swing after Ryan Reyes bungled a breakaway layup that paved the way for an emphatic two-handed dunk by James Mays snuffed any possibilities of an endgame rally with the Mixers’ buffer growing back to 15, 80-65, with under five minutes left.
“But we know we didn’t see the real Talk ‘N Text tonight. We know we’re going to see them on Sunday. I don’t want to lessen our effort and defense but truly, they weren’t the same team tonight,” Cone also said, somewhat bracing for a Talk ‘N Text fightback in Game 2.
Jayson Castro also had 17 points on three-of-15 shooting from the field as he had to bleed for every basket with the San Mig Coffee defense in holding its own.
Richard Howell picked up two quick fouls after just the first four minutes of the game which affected his activity on the floor. He finished with just 11 points and 13 rebounds in 39 minutes of action.
The Mixers came off a grueling five-game series against the Air21 Express last Wednesday while the Texters had a week rest.
But the way the game transpired, San Mig Coffee had the fresher legs while Talk ‘N Text was far from the team deemed unbeatable following a 13-0 record coming into the best-of-five championship duel.
“I thought the San Mig Coffee was much more aggressive tonight than we were. They really denied us what we wanted to do on offense and the really deserved to win this game. They came out and played with a lot of defensive intensity,” said TNT coach Norman Black.
“We were thoroughly outplayed tonight,” added Black.
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