Howell, Talk 'N Text end Ginebra's miserable conference
MANILA, Philippines – Never Say Die turned into simply Die for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Tuesday, April 22 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum when they were demolished by the still undefeated Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, 97-84, as the Texters booked their ticket to the semifinals in the 2014 Home TVolution Commissioner's Cup.
Texters import Richard Howell refused to give Ginebra so much as an inch as he came up with 41 points, 22 rebounds, an assist, and two steals en route to putting a hapless Ginebra out of its misery.
"All the credit goes to the players for really coming out and wanting to win the game today," remarked Talk 'N Text head coach Norman Black after the game. "They played their hearts out and they deserved to be in the semifinals."
It has been a conference to be forgotten for the Gin Kings, who finished the eliminations at 3-6, owing to struggles with their imports and getting their offense to gel like it did during the Philippine Cup.
But the game was in stark contrast with the well-organized and systematic Talk 'N Text who had been undefeated at 9-0 before topping the standings and heading into their quarterfinals match against Ginebra holding a twice-to-beat advantage.
Ginebra's problems and Talk 'N Text's successes stood out for all to see on Tuesday night. The Texters just owned Ginebra in nearly every department.
From field goal shooting (43.9% for the Texters and 36.3% for Ginebra), to turnover points (16-6). Although Ginebra clobbered the Texters on the boards, 61-48, they couldn't manage to capitalize like they should as Talk 'N Text went on a blazing 37-19 third quarter performance to blast Ginebra out of the water for good.
The Texters led by as much 29 points early in the fourth, 86-57, as Talk 'N Text dismantled every Ginebra game plan on offense and defense.
"The offense was clicking tonight and so was the defense," Black noted.
Import Gabe Freeman's stint with the crowd darlings turned out to be a short one as he only finished with 15 points and 22 rebounds, a far cry against Howell's output.
Mark Caguioa tried his hardest to save his team from elimination with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field but it wasn't enough without the help of other offensive threats such as Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar. Ginebra's Twin Towers combined for only 13 points the entire game thanks to Talk 'N Text neutralizing them in the paint.
Guys like Jayjay Helterbrand, Mac Baracael and Chris Ellis were all silent for Ginebra as well.
Meanwhile, it was Jayson Castro who led the charge for the Texters in the third with 10 of his total 13 points in that canto, slashing through the paint and outsmarting Ginebra's interior defense.
Ranidel de Ocampo added 15 points while Larry Fonacier hit two triples for his 12 points.
"The players, right now, they have the will to win, they have the desire to win and they're really giving their all and their best when they get out on the basketball court," Black spoke proudly of his squad.
Talk 'N Text will await the winner of the quarterfinal match-up between Meralco Bolts versus Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, for them to face in the semifinals.
Talk 'N Text (97): Howell 41, De Ocampo 15, Castro 13, Fonacier 12, Alapag 5, Williams 4, Carey 4, Canaleta 3, Salamat 0, Seigle 0, Aban 0, Reyes Jai 0, Reyes Ryan 0, Baclao 0.
Ginebra (84): Caguioa 19, Freeman 15, Tenorio 12, Urbiztondo 9, Ababou 7, Aguilar 7, Slaughter 6, Baracael 4, Helterbrand 2, Mamaril 2, Reyes 1, Ellis 0.
Quarterscores: 27-21, 42-34, 79-53, 97-84.