Alapag's hot shooting secures Game 1 for Talk 'N Text
MANILA, Philippines – Jimmy Alapag showed once again how reliable a leader he is as he took over for the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters on Monday, April 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in order to draw first blood against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 91-85, in their best-of-5 semifinals series in the 2014 PLDT Home Commissionerms Cup.
Alapag scored 11 of his total 15 points (4-of-5 3-point shooting) in the pivotal final period as the veteran Gilas Pilipinas point guard sparked a solo 8-0 run with two triples, including the go-ahead trey, 74-72, with 8:54 to go.
He didn't stop at that as he involved himself in successive plays, allowing the Texters to pull away from the Painters after a tight ballgame that even had the Painters leading at the half, 47-44.
Alapag, 36, was red hot in that final canto as he drilled in another back-breaking three-pointer with 5:56 remaining that carved an 84-76 hole for Rain or Shine.
He also had help from backcourt partner Jayson Castro, who tallied 16 points and 7 assists.
Import Richard Howell added 14 points and 22 rebounds as well, together with 8 offensive boards that greatly helped Talk 'N Text produce 17 second-chance points.
Additionally, they also scored 20 turnover points against only 10 by Rain or Shine despite each team having the same number of miscues at 13.
"I think this is the way the series is gonna go," TNT head coach Norman Black said of the controversial Game 1 that saw a crucial non-call by the referees -- an out-of-bounds call on a save by Alapag of the ball towards the end -- and a scuffle between Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao and Howell.
"It's gonna be physical, it's gonna be rugged. We just have to do a better job at controlling our emotions. We should be focusing more on playing basketball than extracurricular activities."
Rain or Shine import Wayne Chism had a game-high 25 points along with 22 rebounds, two assists and a whopping 7 blocks.
Jeff Chan and Ryan Araña chipped in 18 and 10 points, respectively.
"I think we're going to expect more of this type of basketball in the next two games."
Rain or Shine last made a Finals appearance in the previous Philippine Cup where they succumbed to the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in 6 games. Head coach Yeng Guiao has been on the hunt for his follow-up title with the Painters since the 2012 Governors' Cup.
Talk 'N Text, on the other hand, has now only been truly healthy since key players such as Alapag, Castro, Larry Fonacier and Ranidel de Ocampo served the national team at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.
The Texters, who are now gunning for their 7th franchise title after completing a hat trick of the Philippine Cup conferences from 2010 to 2013, remained undefeated this conference with a streak of 11 wins.
Rain or Shine played sans swingman Gabe Norwood, who was invited to the State dinner with US President Barack Obama and PH President Noynoy Aquino at the time of the game. The Painters also missed the services of guard Chris Tiu who injured his knee.
Game 2 will be played on Wednesday, April 30 at the Cuneta Astrodome. SCHEDULE: PBA 2014 Commissioner's Cup semifinal
TALK N' TEXT (91): Castro 16, Alapag 15, Howell 14, De Ocampo 13, Williams 10, Reyes 8, Canaleta 5, Seigle 4, Carey 4, Fonacier 2, Aban 0.
https://www.rappler.com/sports/by-sport/basketball/56553-pba-semis-preview-ros-stain-tnt Chism 25, Chan 18, Arana 10, Lee 9, Belga 7, Cruz 4, Rodriguez 4, Almazan 2, Tang 2, Nuyles 2, Ibanes 2, Uyloan 0, Teng 0.
Quarter scores: 26-24, 44-47, 64-66, 91-85.