TNT takes down RoS, ties Ginebra

Texters battle Kings in crucial showdown on Wednesday

(Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
5:15 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs. B-Meg
7:30 p.m. – Brgy. Ginebra vs. Talk ‘N Text
Talk ‘N Text got what it wanted Monday night. However, the Tropang Texters have nothing to celebrate.

After all, they still need to win the big one on Wednesday, a crucial knockout game against Barangay Ginebra.

With import Paul Harris delivering when he needed most, Talk ‘N Text turned back sputtering Rain or Shine 98-90 to keep its finals hopes alive in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

With their backs against the wall, Harris shone all game long with a conference-best 34 points on top of 16 rebounds, five assists and two blocks to help the Texters got off to a strong start and withstood a ferocious second half uprising from the Elasto Painters.

More notably, the stirring win, their third straight in the six-team semifinals of the season-ending conference, lifted the Texters to a share of second place with an 8-5 record alongside the Gin Kings.

"All we did tonight was to buy us a little bit more time," noted TNT coach Chot Reyes. "Our situation hasn't changed. We'd like to be happy, but unfortunately we cannot afford to be happy because there's gonna be a very big game on Wednesday."

A very big game, indeed.

Another victory by the Texters over the crowd favorites Gin Kings–by virtue of the 4-of-5 win incentive–will earn them at least a playoff match for a finals berth. A setback, on the other hand, will shred their collective dreams into pieces.

Ranidel de Ocampo added 17 points while playmaker Jimmy Alapag had 10 markers and six assists for the Texters, who proved they could also get the job done with a stingy defense that held the E-Painters to a measly 11-point output in the fourth canto.

Import Jamelle Cornley tallied 27 points and 10 rebounds but could only come up with two made shots in the fourth, visibly baffled by the tough defense alternately employed by TNT defenders Ali Peek and Kelly Williams.

“Were just finding ways to win without some of our key guys,” added Reyes, who continued to miss the services of Harvey Carey and Jared Dillinger, the team’s primary defensive stoppers.

After trailing by as many as 44-62 in the third canto, the E-Painters methodically fought their way back behind Cornley, Paul Lee and Jeff Chan and managed to knot the game at 77-apiece off a dunk from their six-foot-five reinforcement.

The E-Painters, however, virtually fired blanks in the payoff period while the Texters pounced on their misfortunes and gamely took care of the offensive end.

A short stab by Cornley pulled Rain or Shine to within 90-94 with 2:18 left, but his costly turnover in the crunch capped his team’s late-game shooting spell of five straight misses while the Texters showed poise to hang tough.

The scores:
TALK ‘N TEXT 98 – Harris 34, De Ocampo 17, Alapag 10, Fonacier 9, Castro 8, Williams 6, Peek 6, Aguilar 5, Aban 3, Raymundo 0, Reyes 0

RAIN OR SHINE 90 – Cornley 27, Chan 15, Quinahan 14, Lee 13, Belga 11, Norwood 6, Buenafe 4, Matias 0, Tang 0, Arana 0, Ibanes 0
Quarterscores: 30-21, 57-44, 80-79, 98-90


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