Powerade survived a series of costly miscues in the final four minutes and held on for a dramatic 100-97 win in Game Four against Talk ‘N Text to stay alive in the PBA Philippine Cup finals Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Tigers averted a sweep but the Tropang Texters still lead the series, 3-1, with Game Five on Sunday also at the Big Dome at 6 p.m.
Gary David, who was named Best Player of the Conference just before tip-off, tallied a game-high 35 points to lead Powerade, which nearly blew an eight-point lead in the last 4:17 of the contest.
Sean Anthony added 19 points and 11 rebounds but committed a mental lapse in the closing seconds as he threw away a possession with 1.4 seconds left, giving Jimmy Alapag one last chance to tie the game.
“I have to give it to them. We’re just talking about getting one game. Just focusing on one game and not even one game at a time,” said head coach Bo Perasol.
“We had a game plan of just being the best on our offensive side, be the best on who we are and doing something more on defense. I think we did that by allowing them to score less than 100.”
Powerade led at the half, 53-43, for the first time in the series, but the Tropang Texters came alive after the break. They tied the count at 75-all on Castro’s half-court buzzer-beater heave at the end of the third quarter.
But Tigers showed composure in the next stage and kept on attacking to erect a 92-82 lead with 6:07 remaining in the game.
They were still ahead at 94-86 on David’s basket but went 0-of-5 and committed three crucial turnovers that resulted to a 9-3 swing for Talk ‘N Text. Larry Fonacier’s back-to-back three-pointers tied the game at 97-all with 1:03 remaining.
Anthony responded with a clutch jumper for Powerade that ended up being the go-ahead basket. Castro forced a foul on JVee Casio in the ensuing play, but missed two free throws. David was fouled and split his free throws to give Powerade a 100-97 lead with 14.6 seconds left.
Castro’s three-point attempt in the next possession came up short, and Anthony collared the rebound. But he lost control of the leather, giving the defending champs another shot to send the game in overtime.
“Their bigs outplayed our bigs and that’s the only advantage we have,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes.
“Powerade has the best wingmen in the PBA and we have to compensate that with our big men. But tonight we didn’t.”
Fonacier led Talk ‘N Text with 20 points. Castro added 18 points and 10 rebounds while Alapag also netted 18 points for the Tropang Texters.
POWERADE 100 – David 35, Anthony 19, Lassiter 13, Kramer 11, Adducul 10, Casio 7, Lingganay 3, Vanlandingham 2, Cruz 0, Crisano 0.
TALK N’ TEXT 97 – Fonacier 20, Castro 18, Alapag 18, Carey 11, Reyes 10, Peek 8, Williams 7, De Ocampo 3, Dillinger 2, Aguilar 0, Alvarez 0, Lao 0.
Quarters: 25-23, 53-43, 75-75, 100-97
» TICKING BOMB | â€˜El Grandaâ€™ Gary David explodes at perfect time as Meralco makes first final four appearance
» â€˜A whale of a seriesâ€™: Purefoods bracing for big semis showdown with Talk â€˜N Text
» BRACKET WATCH | 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals matchups