Petron grabs 3-1 cushion; Ildefonso shines for Boosters
MANILA, Philippines — Petron continues to find heroes when it needs them the most. Last night, it was Danny Ildefonso’s turn to shine.
Ildefonso knocked down a decisive jumper and the Boosters held their ground for an 85-82 win that pushed the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters to the brink of elimination in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
Now clinging to a 3-1 series advantage, Petron is one game from dealing Talk ‘N Text yet another heartbreaker after crushing the Texters’ Grand Slam dreams in last year’s Governors Cup.
The two-time MVP was waiting at the wings when a driving Dennis Miranda dished it off to Ildefonso for the dagger that pushed the Boosters up, 83-82, and shattered the confidence of the Tropang Texters with 55.7 seconds left.
“All the things that I cannot control I leave it up to him (God),” said Ildefonso, who arrived 45 minutes before the game straight from a therapy session to alleviate the piercing pain in his right leg after suffering from cramps in Game 3.
“I can feel that the finals is close at hand. We’ll never let this chance slip away,” added Ildefonso.
Ildefonso had 22 points after going 11 of 14 from the field, including a baseline spinner that gave them an 81-80 edge entering the final two minutes.
Petron’s most senior citizen at 35 also pulled down eight rebounds, had four assists and a block, compensating for an almost silent night for Arwind Santos and
Alex Cabagnot, the Game 3 hero who nailed the game-winning three Monday.
Cabagnot had eight points on three of 10 shooting while Santos, the Boosters’ double-double machine and conference MVP candidate, had seven points and two rebounds after being saddled by fouls early.
“I have to credit Danny’s experience in situations like these. But I’m happy that other players also contributed. The composure and poise of my players were there,” said Petron coach Ato Agustin.
PETRON 85—Ildefonso 22, Lutz 13, Yeo 13, Cabagnot 8, Santos 7, Reyes 6, Sharma 6, Miranda 5, Tugade 3, Baclao 2.
TALK ‘N TEXT 82—Reyes 17, De Ocampo 15, Castro 13, Dillinger 9, Peek 9, Fonacier 6, Williams 5, Carey 4, Alapag 3, Aguilar 1.
Quarters: 22-23, 38-44, 60-66, 85-82
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