A mammoth crowd of 15,183 turned up for Game Five of the Commissioner’s Cup finals, and James Yap treated them to a fireworks display.
Big Game James scored 30 points on 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc, and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the B-MEG Llamados to an 82-66 victory over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The win moved the Llamados a win away from wresting the title away from the Tropang Texters in Game Six on Friday.
“Pag finals, wala nang sakit-sakit, do-or-die kasi para sa amin itong Game Five,” said a visibly-tired Yap after the game.
“Sa best-of-three, kung sino makauna, talagang malaking advantage, nakuha nga namin. Pero alam naman natin Talk ‘N Text, hindi bibitaw yan.”
After ruing B-MEG’s slow start in the previous game, Yap came out firing, scoring nine points to lead the B-MEG charge in the first quarter. His third three-pointer near the end of the first half gave him his 16th point, after scoring just 14 last game, and gave the Llamados a 41-33 halftime lead.
B-MEG quelled repeated charges from Talk ‘N Text in the third quarter, which Yap capped with his fourth three-pointer to push the Llamados advantage to six, 59-53.
The dam broke in the fourth quarter for B-MEG, which scored the first five points to push their lead to 11 points, 64-53. Talk ‘N Text were only able to come closest at seven points, 69-62, on a three-pointer by Jimmy Alapag. But the Llamados responded with another 6-0 run on a sensational drive by Yap and back-to-back jumpers by import Denzel Bowles to restore a commanding lead.
Bowles had another monster performance, bouncing back with 28 points and 18 rebounds while limiting his counterpart Donnell Harvey to just 13 points.
Jared Dillinger and Jayson Castro led the way for Talk ‘N Text, scoring 18 and 16 points, respectively. The Tropang Texters’ potent offensive attack was held to below 37% shooting from the field, and the Llamados forced 16 turnovers.
Despite the victory, Yap remained wary of a potential Talk ‘N Text comeback.
“Expected sa finals, hard defense talaga, I’m sure pag-aaralan nila ginagawa ko sa game. As a player, maghahanda lang ako talaga. Game Six, yung physical defense, andun, paghandaan ko yun. Ibuhos mo na every game, pahinga bukas, then trabaho ulit sa Game Six. Finals, walang bibitaw. Sabihan ko rin mga teammates ko huwag mag-relax,” he said.
B-MEG 82 – Yap 30, Bowles 28, De Ocampo 8, Simon 5, Urbiztondo 4, Devance 3, Barroca 2, Pingris 2, Gaco 0, Burtscher 0, Intal 0, Reavis 0
Talk ‘N Text 66 – Dillinger 18, Castro 16, Harvey 13, Alapag 6, Peek 6, De Ocampo 3, Gamalinda 2, Fonacier 2, Aguilar 0, Reyes 0, Williams 0, Carey 0
Quarters: 24-15, 41-33, 59-53, 82-66
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