PBA: Texters put finals loss behind with sneaky win over Bolts
MANILA, Philippines—It has only been a week since Talk N’ Text’s bitter defeat in the finals, and head coach Norman expected a less than stellar start on Wednesday.
But Black also knew that one way to get over a loss is to get a win, which the Texters did after surviving Meralco, 105-99, in their first game in the 2014 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s a good way to start the conference,” Black said after the match. “I told my players that the best way to get back in the game is to get a win to put the finals behind us and they responded well.”
Jayson Castro, who failed to step up in that game 4 loss to San Mig Coffee last week, made sure same won’t happen this time as he poured 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Last conference’s best player scored 10 of the Texters’ last 13 points including a go ahead, pull-up triple over Bolts’ import Terrence Williams with 44.3 ticks remaining.
Castro then canned the next four free throws to put the game within reach as the Bolts, after leading 97-92, with 2:23 to play was held to two points the rest of the way.
Castro finished with 21 points, Ranidel De Ocampo had 22, while import Othyus Jeffers debuted with 38 points and 13 rebounds despite minimal practice with Talk N’ Text.
“He has only had 3 practices with us, so we’re hoping to get him in better shape in the next few days,” Black said.
The Texters had a sluggish start, allowing Meralco to take a 50-43 lead at half, but that’s not something Black didn’t expect.
“Coming off a finals loss, you expect there’s going to be a bit of a problem with confidence. It’s going to take a while to get their confidence back. I expected that.”
Talk N’ Text managed to a take a 64-52 lead midway the third period as De Ocampo and Jeffers did most of the damage with 20 of the 25 points combined.
The Bolts refused to pull away behind the efforts of Cliff Hodge and Williams and even took advantage in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t close the deal.
Hodge had 24 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, a steal, and four blocks, for Meralco while Williams added 20 points and 14 rebounds.