The Tropang Texters played tough defense down the stretch against the Petron Blaze Boosters, holding their rivals to a single field goal in the last five minutes, en route to a 95-82 triumph at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum to secure one of the top two spots and the twice-to-beat bonus in the eight-team PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
“We’ve achieved our target, which is securing the top spot and a twice-to-beat advantage. We played with a total team effort and played with balanced offense,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.
The game was tied, 66-all, at the end of three quarters and was close up until the last six minutes, where Petron trailed by just a single point, 81-80, after free throws from Alex Cabagnot.
But the Tropang Texters were able to outscore the Boosters, 12-2, in the last five minutes as Talk ‘N Text closed out strong to stay on top of the standings with an 11-2 card.
“We’re trying to find our identity. I told them that if we can focus on defense, we have a chance of winning basketball games,” said Black. “We made some adjustments in the second half, particularly on the defensive end. Everybody buckled down on defense.”
No player was able to score for Petron Blaze after Arwind Santos made a bucket at the 3:19 mark of the fourth period.
Talk ‘N Text’s victory snapped Petron’s three-game winning streak. The Boosters fell to a 6-7 card and dropped to seventh place.
TALK ‘N TEXT 95 – Castro 23, Williams 14, Reyes 12, Alapag 11, De Ocampo 10, Peek 9, Dillinger 8, Fonacier 6, Carey 2, Aban 0, Alvarez 0.
PETRON 82 – Santos 22, Cabagnot 17, Lassiter 12, Fajardo 7, Lutz 7, Yeo 5, Washington 5, Faundo 4, Miranda 3, Duncil 0.
Quarterscores: 15-18, 38-44, 66-66, 95-82.
PBA Images/Nuki Sabio