Talk ‘N Text completed its miraculous comeback from a 3-1 hole with another pulsating 92-91 escape over Petron Blaze in Game Seven and marched into the finals of the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
In a series where each game has been decided by one possession, luck smiled on the Tropang Texters as Ryan Reyes won a jumpball against Arwind Santos, allowing Kelly Williams to grab the biggest possession of the semis with just 3.7 seconds left.
Talk ‘N Text fumbled on its last inbound play, allowing the Boosters to get a crack for a game-winner with 1.2 seconds left. But Alex Cabagnot’s long heave never had a chance as Petron ran out of luck and became the third team to blow a 3-1 lead in a seven-game series.
“For any team that was able to come back from a 3-1 hole, it has to be something special,” said Tropang Texters coach Chot Reyes.
“But to be fair, we poured our biggest effort tonight. And I think we won the series at the end of Game Four when we sat at the dugout in semi circle, looked at each other’s eyes and said we still have a chance.”
Talk ‘N Text will play Powerade in the best-of-seven finals that starts this Friday in Digos City in Davao del Sur.
Jason Castro led the defending champions with 21 points while Ranidel de Ocampo added 19. Jimmy Alapag contributed 14 points and seven assists.
Ali Peek also came up big with 13 points and 11 rebounds, including two crucial offensive boards in the closing moments that allowed the Tropang Texters to have multiple possessions while holding a 92-91 lead.
Alapag missed three three-point attempts that could have sealed the series but Danny Ildefonso, who hit a number of big shots in the series, also missed a shot that could have given the lead back to the Boosters.
Reyes collared the rebound on Ildefonso’s missed jumper, but Santos forced a jumpball with 5.5 seconds left.
Santos seemed to have the edge but Reyes beat him out on the toss as the ball went to Williams, who quickly called a timeout.
Talk ‘N Text melted a couple of precious seconds before Peek turned the ball over with 1.2 ticks remaining.
But Petron was out of timeouts and was forced to inbound from the far court. Cabagnot’s desperation shot was way off the target.
“We can’t be satisfied beating Petron. There’s a bigger job to do,” said Reyes, who was the last coach to give the Coca-Cola franchise its last crown in the 2003 Reinforced Conference against San Miguel Beer.
Talk ‘N Text 92 – Castro 21, De Ocampo 19, Alapag 14, Peek 13, Aguilar 6, Williams 6, Fonacier 5, Reyes 3, Dillinger 2, Carey 2, Alvarez 1, Gamalinda 0.
Petron 91 – Lutz 23, Ildefonso 16, Yeo 14, Santos 12, Miranda 11, Cabagnot 8, Reyes 7, Baclao 0, Tugade 0.
Quarters: 19-28; 51-57; 81-73; 92-91