Talk 'N Text remains the PBA's lone unbeaten team in the Commissioner's Cup, squeaking by Rain or Shine 85-82
MANILA, Philippines – Before the start of the PBA All-Star break, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters head coach Norman Black aired his concern over the long lay-off, even noting that long stretches without games are usually not a good thing for teams on a winning streak. They were at 7-0 then.
He said his goal was to keep his team energized and refreshed throughout the break in order to maintain their winning ways.
The multi-titled coach succeeded in doing so on Wednesday, April 9 as his team picked up where they left off with a 85-82 squeaker against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the resumption of the 2014 PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Talk ‘N Text had the last laugh despite two attempted comebacks by the Painters, who dropped to 3-4 in the middle of the standings.
Endgame breaks prevented Rain or Shine from completing their last gasp comeback as their import Wayne Chism committed two crucial errors in rebounding that resulted to lost possessions for the Painters with under a minute left in the game.
The first was after Paul Lee missed a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left, where Chism, 26, reached high above everybody else to get the ball. But he couldn’t get a good grip on it, resulting to the possession going to Talk ‘N Text.
The next and most crucial of all was after Texters playmaker Jimmy Alapag uncharacteristically missed two free throws with 10.1 seconds left, leaving the door wide for the Painters to overturn the slim 84-82 TNT lead.
But that door promptly shut after Chism, who was all alone for the rebound, tried to grab the ball with just one hand and instead of securing it, swatted it out of bounds to the visible dismay of the Rain or Shine bench.
Then it was Larry Fonacier’s turn to troop to the line and try to ice the game. With a split, 85-82, and 7.5 ticks remaining, the odds still favored Rain or Shine. But they couldn’t grab the opportunity as Beau Belga missed one last hail Mary attempt from long range.
“Breaks of the game I guess,” Black said after the contest. “I’m very glad that we were able to survive this game. It turned out to be a very physical game, a very rugged game.”
Talk ‘N Text endured two furious comebacks by Rain or Shine in this game with the first one transpiring in the first half. The Texters were up by as much as 13 points before the Painters erased that and took a 37-36 lead at the break.
By the third frame, Talk ‘N Text pushed Rain or Shine back and was relentless on offense and defense, dropping 34 points and keeping the Painters to just 17. Black’s squad came into the fourth armed with their biggest lead of the ballgame, 70-54.
Though Rain or Shine simply refused to stay down, slowly chipping away at the deficit throughout the final period until a massive trey by the 25-year old Lee put his team well within striking distance, 84-82, with 1:01 remaining. It was all downhill from there for last conference’s runners-up. Their 35 points off 23 Talk ‘N Text turnovers weren’t enough to hand them the win.
“We showed a lot of guts today to be able to get this win,” Black remarked.
Both teams played handicapped in some way.
Rain or Shine was missing its head coach Yeng Guiao, who is reported to be on a business trip abroad. Assistant coach Caloy Garcia took over for the Painters in the meantime.
On the part of the Texters, they lost their import Richard Howell in the first half after he fell awkwardly on the break when Lee inadvertently hit him. He was then transported to a hospital soon after when he complained of pain during the halftime break. Howell had two points and 9 rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
Despite the handicaps, players from both teams stepped up.
For Talk ‘N Text KG Canaleta unleashed 19 points on 3-of-7 shots from beyond the arc as well as 5-of-6 field goals. He even added 8 boards and two steals to his stat line.
Kelly Williams and Danny Seigle contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively. While Harvey Carey took care of rebounding with 11 boards.
Rain or Shine, meanwhile, had Belga and Lee scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively. Chris Tiu chipped in 8 markers as well, while Jeff Chan had 7.
Talk ‘N Text 85: Canaleta 19, Williams 13, Seigle 12, Fonacier 11, Castro 8, De Ocampo 7, Carey 5, Alapag 5, Reyes 3, Howell 2, Reyes 0, Baclao 0.
Rain or Shine 82: Chism 18, Belga 12, Lee 11, Tiu 8, Chan 7, Arana 6, Almazan 5, Norwood 5, Cruz 4, Rodriguez 4, Tang 2, Uyloan 0, Nuyles 0, Teng 0.
Quarterscores: 21-14, 36-37, 70-54, 85-82.