Texters gun for clincher
With the way Talk ‘N Text played in Game 5—and how convincing the Tropang Texters pounded out a victory—coach Jong Uichico said only complacency can prevent them from clinching the PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown against Rain or Shine.
The Tropang Texters will take the first of two chances to put the Elasto Painters away at 5 p.m. Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum with Uichico vowing to make sure that his wards don’t fall into a false sense of security against a dangerous enemy.
“Complacency should be farthest from their minds,” Uichico said on Friday after the Texters hacked out a 103-94 win that gave them a 3-2 lead in the rugged best-of-seven series.
“We don’t want to shift the momentum back to Rain or Shine.”
Ranidel de Ocampo has had a sustained offensive resurgence and import Ivan Johnson kept his mind in the game all night as the Texters proved too much for the game Painters to overcome in Game 5.
And there is Jason Castro, the Best Player of the Conference who completes the Texters’ fearsome triumvirate who was only too willing to yield the starring role to De Ocampo in the last two games.
Rain or Shine lost consecutive games for the first time in the conference after the Painters threw away a hot start to trail by as large as 20 points in the third quarter Friday.
The Painters had a 23-13 lead in the first but where never the same at the start of second, flashing their true potential only late in the fourth when it was practically all over but the shouting for the Texters.
Rain or Shine has had no answers for De Ocampo and Castro in the last two games, and Johnson has started joining the scoring fray that has made his counterpart, Wayne Chism, work extra hard on both ends.
Chism, after an explosive elimination round stint, has failed to do enough damage on the Texters in the last two outings, even if he was able to stay out of foul trouble in Game 5.
Paul Lee has been consistent but the Painters haven’t found someone to plug the hole that the absence of top outside gun Jeff Chan has created.
Chan has been out of the last two games with ailing legs and is doubtful for the rest of the series and coach Yeng Guiao needs to find someone from his deep bench to explode from the outside and make like a bit easier for Chism and the rest of the Rain or Shine frontline.
JR Quiñahan returns after a one-game suspension for throwing the ball at the face of Matt Rosser in the tumultuous Game 4, and he could provide some muscle underneath in trying to contain Johnson.
Meanwhile, after the wives of players from both teams got into an ugly shouting match on Friday night, the Office of the Commissioner could have no other recourse but to ban family members from using the same hallways that the players take in going to their respective cars.
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