Castro scores game-winner versus Barako to send Talk ‘N Text to PBA semis

Jason Castro capped his career night with a game-winner, a well-challenged lay-up by Dylan Ababou, with 5.3 seconds left to lift Talk ‘N Text to an 81-79 come-from-behind thriller over Barako Bull and enter the semis of the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Castro droved hard to the basket and was contested well by the Energy rookie and Wynnie Arboleda’s long heave kissed the front of the rim and the Tropang Texters completed the amazing comeback.

“It was very hard. We have to play a very measured game because we couldn’t run as much as we wanted in the first half because we might not have gas enough left in the second half,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes.

“And the key part of the game was we were able to manage the minutes and fouls because we knew hindi kami tatagal if we play our usual game,” he added.

Castro set a new personal-high of 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor. His previous high was 24.

Jimmy Alapag added 15 points and like Castro, logged in 38 minutes for the injury-plagued Texters, who now advance to the best-of-seven semis against the winner of the Meralco-Petron Blaze quarterfinal series.

Kelly Williams and Japeth Aguilar added 14 and 10 markers respectively and were responsible in trimming Barako Bull’s 14-point halftime lead and entered the final quarter trailing by only 3, 56-59.

Aguilar had two emphatic two-hand slams on that run.

The Texters grabbed the lead on Castro’s triple, 65-62 and were comfortably ahead at 77-70 with 1:33 remaining before Willie Miller singlehandedly unloaded a 9-2 bomb he capped with an acrobatic drive to tie the count at 79-all with 23.4 ticks remaining.

Then came Castro’s golden basket and Barako Bull had no timeout left that denied them a chance to advance the ball and get a better look for a possible game-tying basket.

Mick Pennisi finished 16 markers to lead the Energy while Miller added 15. Dorian Pena chipped in 12 points and 12 boards for Barako Bull, which joined and Alaska in the sidelines.

For Talk ‘N Text, the win was crucial in its quest to defend its all-Filipino crown.

“That (health) is a real issue. That’s why importanteng manalo para makapahinga,” said Reyes, whose next game will be on January 4 next year, the start of the semifinal round.

The scores:

TALK N’ TEXT 81 – Castro 32, Alapag 15, Williams 14, Aguilar 10, Carey 8, Fonacier 2, Dillinger 0, Reyes 0, Alvarez 0, Lao 0.

BARAKO 79 – Pennisi 16, Miller 15, Pena 12, Seigle 9, Allado 9, Ababou 6, Arboleda 6, Salvacion 3, Gatumbato 2, Artadi 1, Aquino 0, Najorda 0.

Quarters: 17-25, 30-44, 56-59, 81-79

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