Castro, Alas take charge in fourth as Talk ’N Text levels semis series
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The veteran and the rookie became the perfect duo as Jayson Castro and Kevin Alas conspired for 20 fourth quarter points to lift the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters, 93-77, and level the best-of-5 semifinals 1-1 in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Monday, April 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Castro, who led all Texters with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, took care of the late game heroics, scoring 7 points inside the final 3 minutes to keep the Hotshots at bay.
Alas fueled a 9-0 run midway in the last quarter with back-to-back triples and a basket on the break to control momentum and give Talk ’N Text a 76-70 advantage. He finished with 12 points, 10 of which he produced in the payoff period.
“Kevin, he stepped up in the fourth quarter,” Talk ’N Text head coach Jong Uichico said. “He made some big shots. He held the fort while Jayson was out of the game. Malaking bagay yun (It’s a big deal). He’s gaining that experience as a rookie.”
Four other Texters finished in double figures, including import Ivan Johnson with his 16 points, 20 rebounds and 5 steals.
Ranidel de Ocampo, who nailed Purefoods’ coffin shut with a triple towards the end for his 14 points and 10 boards. Jay Washington and Larry Fonacier chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Talk ’N Text, who avoided a dangerous 0-2 hole after dropping the series’ first game, 100-94, last Wednesday, April 1.
Denzel Bowles, the star of that game 1 win by Purefoods, carried the Hotshots with 35 points and 8 rebounds. He had little contribution from the locals with James Yap and PJ Simon scoring 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The emotions and physicality ran high throughout the game as Talk ’N Text battled to protect their double-digit halftime lead, while Purefoods fought to come from behind and win.
Several technical fouls were called, including one each on Marc Pingris and Johnson. Allein Maliksi and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser got tangled up late in the third after Maliksi threw his forearm and hit Rosser square on the face. Maliksi was whistled for a flagrant foul penalty 1.
Alas and Mick Pennisi were also highly competitive in the final frame, with Alas asserting himself and scored over Pennisi following a play where Pennisi landed on Alas.
But tempers hit fever pitch after the game as both teams headed for the respective locker rooms, with both sides yelling at each other. According to Pingris, Johnson was still challenging Purefoods players in their walk to the dugout.
“Emotions are really high especially in our series,” said Uichico, who had to delay his post-game interview for a few minutes to check on the commotion. “It’s gonna happen when teams find ways to try to win games. We can’t tell our players to back down, Purefoods won’t back down either.”
The Hotshots first took a taste of the lead early in the third, 41-40, following a 7-0 spurt. But the Texters stayed composed all throughout the fourth and ran Purefoods’ defense to the ground to tire them.
Purefoods came as close as 78-74 with under 4 minutes remaining after Yap hit two free throws, but Johnson knocked down a basket and Castro donned his hero’s cape to seal the victory.
Game 3 is on Thursday, April 9.
TALK N' TEXT (93) - Castro 21, Johnson 16, De Ocampo 14, Washington 12, Alas 12, Fonacier 10, Carey 2, Williams 2, Rosser 2, Aban 2.
PUREFOODS (77) - Bowles 35, Yap 15, Simon 10, Pennisi 5, Maliksi 3, Devance 3, Reavis 2, Mallari 2, Barroca 2, Melton 0, Pingris 0.
Quarters: 21-13, 40-34, 59-57, 93-77
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