Samhan bucks sluggish start, carries Talk ‘N Text past Meralco in OT

After missing his first nine shots, Omar Samhan was an eyesore in the first few minutes of his debut with the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters.

But he picked up his rhythm to finish with 24 points and 20 rebounds and lead the defending champion Tropang Texters to a 102-96 overtime victory over the Meralco Bolts in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Samhan scored six of Talk ‘N Text’s 10 points in overtime, when he was able to hold his counterpart Jarrid Famous scoreless.

“I had to keep my temper under control and be patient in this game. We only had four games of practice with this import and honestly, masakit sa mata panoorin,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes.

“It was kind of expected that we will struggle in this game because we only had four practices with this import. The fact that our import started 0-for-9, the players stayed patient with him and in the end, he finished with 24 points and 20 rebounds, not a bad production.”

It was the second loss in three games for the Bolts in seven days, but almost stole win on the heroics of Chris Ross.

The point guard finished with his most productive game yet since coming off an injury, puttin up 19 points, six rebounds, 13 assists and five steals. His jumper at the 2:23 mark of overtime gave Meralco its last taste of the lead, 96-94.

Jason Castro hit a three-pointer, Samhan had two free throws and a field goal, and Jimmy Alapag split his charities as the Tropang Texters’ 7-0 run took the fight out of the Bolts.

“We came here expected to grind out a win. Meralco played good last time in beating Petron and was in the thick of the fight until the final minute of the overtime,” said Reyes.

He added that he expects more out of Samhan in the days to come.

“It’s not pleasing to the eyes,” said Reyes, referring to Samhan’s style of play. “He’s not flashy, but he has high basketball IQ, that’s why his teammates like playing with him. The jury is out on Omar Samhan.”

Seven players scored at least nine points for the Tropang Texters – Alapag (14 points), Castro (13), Williams (12), Dillinger (10), Fonacier (10), De Ocampo (9).

The scores:

Talk ‘N Text (102) – Samhan 24, Alapag 14, Castro 13, Williams 12, Dillinger 10, Fonacier 10, De Ocampo 9, Peek 6, Aguilar 4, Carey 0.

Meralco (96) – Famous 28, Cardona 25, Ross 19, Hugnatan 10, Borboran 6, Espinas 5, Aljamal 2, Taulava 1, Timberlake 0, Macapagal 0, Artadi 0.

Quarterscores: 19-22; 45-42; 68-68; 92-92; 102-96.

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