B-MEG squandered a 14-point first-quarter lead, but recovered in time by doing what they do best: playing tough defense.
The Llamados held the Tropang Texters without a field goal in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter while Peter June Simon and Denzel Bowles took on the scoring mantle down the stretch, allowing B-MEG to preserve a hard-earned 88-82 triumph in Game One of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals Monday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
But Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes blamed free throws for the team’s loss. The Tropang Texters shot a miserable 16-of-36 (44%) from the line.
“If we missed less than 50 percent of our total missed shots [from the free throw line], we had a chance of winning. These guys have been playing basketball since they were wearing short pants. I can’t help them make free throws,” he said.
“We nearly stole the game. In fact,it was being given to us. Binibigay na sa amin yung mga regalo (gift shots) hindi namin tinanggap.”
B-MEG trailed, 67-62, heading into the final quarter after Talk ‘N Text unloaded its firepower in the third. But a backbreaking 15-2 run, anchored on eight points by Simon, allowed the Llamados to grab a 77-69 lead with 5:15 left in the game.
The Tropang Texters cut the lead to four points, 86-82, with 44.6 seconds left in the game, but Ranidel de Ocampo missed a crucial three-pointer and Donnell Harvey had a turnover down the stretch, allowing B-MEG to take the head start in the best-of-seven series.
Simon finished with 18 points on steady 9-of-11 shooting from the field. Bowles led the Llamados with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Joe Devance and Marc Pingris contributed 11 points each.
Harvey led the Tropang Texters with 25 points and 13 rebounds while Jimmy Alapag added 12 points, including two three-pointers in the fourth period.
B-MEG (88) – Bowles 25, Simon 18, Devance 11, Pingris 11, Yap 9, Barroca 4, Intal 3, Reavis 3, Urbiztondo 2, De Ocampo 2, Villanueva 0.
Talk ‘N Text (82) – Harvey 25, Alapag 12, Reyes 10, Fonacier 8, Williams 6, Dillinger 5, Castro 5, De Ocampo 5, Carey 4, Peek 2, Gamalinada 0, Aguilar 0.
Quarters: 25-14; 48-40; 62-67; 88-82
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