Defending champion Talk ‘N Text flexed its muscle, running down Barako Bull, 123-98, to even their Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series at 1-all Thursday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Import Donnell Harvey rebounded from a nine-point performance in the series opener, scoring 24 points to lead eight Tropang Texters with at least nine points. Ranidel de Ocampo scored all 18 of his points in the first half for Talk ‘N Text, which bounced back from an anemic 77-point performance in Game One.
Barako Bull looked to make a game of it early, with import Gabe Freeman scoring 15 points to help the team take a 25-24 lead in the opening period. But Talk ‘N Text started humming in the second quarter, with De Ocampo and Harvey helping the Tropang Texters grab a 55-45 lead at the half.
Don Allado exploded for 14 points in the third quarter to try to lead Barako Bull back into the game, but timely hits from Harvey and Kelly Williams allowed Talk ‘N Text to increase its lead at the end of the period, 88-76.
The Tropang Texters used a jackrabbit 8-2 run to start the final period. It was capped by a three-pointer by Ryan Reyes that gave Talk ‘N Text a 96-78 lead that proved to be the death knell for Barako Bull, which couldn’t stop the Tropang Texters’ offensive juggernaut in the fourth quarter.
“Today, we made some shots and that took them out of their zone defense,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes, whose players shot 14-of-27 (51%) from the three-point line after shooting just 6-of-30 from beyond the arc in Game Three.
The Tropang Texters were also able to limit the output of Freeman, who became a non-factor with just five points after the first quarter. Allado, who tried to keep Barako Bull afloat in the second half, scored 20 points for Barako Bull.
TALK ‘N TEXT 123 – Harvey 24, De Ocampo 18, Fonacier 14, Reyes 13, Williams 12, Alapag 12, Castro 10, Dillinger 9, Carey 6, Raymundo 3, Gamalinda 2, Aguilar 0, Alvarez 0, Lao 0.
BARAKO BULL 98 – Freeman 20, Allado 20, Seigle 16, Tubid 10, Miller 10, Aquino 6, Najorda 5, Salvador 5, Pena 4, Arboleda 2, Cervantes 0, Pennisi 0
Quarters: 24-25, 55-45, 88-76, 123-98
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