Simply put, Talk ‘N Text was just too good, too strong and too classy for Rain or Shine.
Smelling blood, the Tropang Texters immediately went for the kill then unleashed a perfect finishing kick on the demoralized Elasto Painters, hacking out a methodical 105-82 victory Wednesday night for a third straight PBA Philippine Cup title before an electric Smart-Araneta Coliseum crowd.
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Cat-quick guard Jayson Castro, who was named the Best Player of the Conference, took the backseat offensively with just six markers but six other teammates contributed with at least 10 markers as the Tropang Texters nailed their seventh overall crown–including the 1998 Centennial Cup–and their fifth overall in the All-Filipino tournament.
Ranidel De Ocampo provided an all-around outing of a game-high 19 points plus 10 rebounds and seven assists, enough to be named the Finals MVP, while forwards Kelly Williams and Ali Peek added at least 15 markers each.
Jared Dillinger also emerged as a steady force with 14 points, including two of the TNT’s seven booming triples in the fourth, while Larry Fonacier added 13 and Jimmy Alapag collected 10 points and eight assists for the Texters, who made history by becoming the first team ever to win three straight all-Filipino titles.
Larry Rodriguez had 16 points for the Painters, who trailed early on then threatened in the third canto, only to completely crumble in the face of the Texters’ fully-loaded fourth-quarter charge.
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“I’m very happy with the victory. They (the Texters) worked so hard. In the end, it turned out good for us,” beamed TNT coach Norman Black, who made a successful comeback in the league after steering the Ateneo men’s basketball team to a “five-peat” in the UAAP.
Black notched his 11th overall title since steering the defunct Sta. Lucia team to the Governors Cup crown in 2001, and it’s no surprise he’s treating this one so special, stating: “This championship means a lot to me maybe because I’ve been away for so long. I’ve always wanted to go back to the PBA, the best league in the country. I was just waiting for the right time.”
“I’m thankful for being a part of this team. I’m happy to work for them and happy to represent them as their coach,” he added.
Aside from exploding for 35 points in the fourth canto, the Texters also showcased their teamwork with 34 assists.
“That’s really the beauty of this team. You can never tell whose gonna be the best player. They’re talented players and unselfish,” added Black. “We just worked very hard. I knew we have a good offensive team but I just have to balance it with our defense for us to be a complete team.”
For the fourth straight game, Black proved he has calculated the moves of his counterpart Yeng Guiao, whose charges failed to break the 90-point barrier. “It’s always been my philosophy–defense wins championships,” noted the American mentor.
Showing unselfishness and typifying the teamwork to the hilt, Talk ‘N Text uncorked 11 straight points–coming from five different players–in turning an early 4-7 deficit into a big 29-15 cushion into the second.
Rain or Shine, feeding off the energy from on-attack-mode Ryan Arana, showed some lease of life in the second and third cantos, moving within 63-65 on a Chris Tiu spin move before Talk ‘N Text saved its best for last.
Getting pumped-up with Dillinger’s buzzer-beating triple at the end of the third, TNT uncorked a dizzying 28-12 onslaught–18 coming from beyond the arc, capped by Alapag’s back-to-back treys for a whopping 98-78 cushion with 4:05 to go.
With the relatively dominant yellow-clad fans of over 17,000 on their feet in jubilation, Williams put the icing on the cake by successfully executing a jam via an off-the-board pass.
“This journey has been amazing,” stated Alapag.
TALK N' TEXT (105) - De Ocampo 19, Williams 15, Peek 15, Dillinger 14, Fonacier 13, Alapag 10, Castro 6, Reyes 5, Carey 4, Gamalinda 2, Aban 2, Raymundo 0, Alvarez 0, Ferriols 0.
RAIN OR SHINE (82) - Rodriguez 16, Cruz 13, Arana 11, Chan 9, Lee 7, Belga 7, Quinahan 6, Tang 5, Tiu 4, Norwood 4, Matias 0, Ibanes 0.
Quarters: 29-15, 53-46, 70-63, 105-82