Two down, two to go for Talk ‘N Text.
The Tropang Texters faced a different Powerade team in Game Two but came up with the same result, holding on to a 102-96 win to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship series of the PBA Philippine Cup Monday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Jimmy Alapag hit a 28-foot three-pointer that served as the dagger to the Tigers’ rally, leaving Talk ‘N Text just two wins away from keeping their all-Filipino title.
Alapag finished with a team-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, while Game One hero Jason Castro added 19.
Larry Fonacier contributed 13 points, including a lay-up off a broken play that gave the Tropang Texters a 96-93 cushion with 2:08 remaining.
Both teams exchanged empty possessions after Fonacier’s basket, before Alapag, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, practically sealed the win with a long three-pointer that gave Talk ‘N Text a 99-93 advantage with 28.4 seconds to play.
“It’s gonna be a different ball game when (JVee) Casio is around. I just kept telling the guys to make sure the other players didn’t get their points,” said Tropang Texters coach Chot Reyes.
“Gary (David) got his 30 but we did a good job on other players.”
David started hot early, hitting 21 points in the first half to surpass his 19-point performance in the series opener last Friday in Digos City, Davao del Sur.
But he was held to just nine points the rest of the way even as Casio, who sat out in Game One due to a pulled right hamstring, carried the scoring chores for the Tigers.
Talk ‘N Text threatened to pull away at 92-80 before Doug Kramer sparked a 13-2 assault. It pushed Powerade to within one point. 94-93, with 2:54 left, before Fonacier’s key basket.
Casio finished with 17 points in his finals debut, while fellow rookie Marcio Lassiter added 15. Kramer chipped in 14 points. Sean Anthony, who had 23 points in Game One, finished with just two points and did not return after sustaining a cut in the right eyebrow caused by Ranidel de Ocampo’s wayward elbow.
Talk ‘N Text moved a step closer from being the first team since Great Taste in 1985 to defende its homegrown crown
But Reyes knows the series isn’t over yet.
““We have seen this so many times. We still to need to get two more, we have to take another step to get the ultimate objective,” he said.
Talk N’ Text 102 – Alapag 23, Castro 19, Fonacier 13, Peek 10, Carey 9, Williams 8, Reyes 7, De Ocampo 7, Dillinger 4, Gamalinda 2, Aguilar 0.
Powerade 96 – David 30, Casio 17, Lassiter 15, Kramer 14, Adducul 9, Vanlandingham 4, Cruz 3, Anthony 2, Antonio 2, Allera 0, Crisano 0.
Quarters: 31-25, 56-51, 80-73, 102-96