Texters sizzle from downtown, edge closer to finals
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters caught fire from beyond the arc with 19 three-pointers to outlast the Purefoods Star Hotshots, 107-111, in game 3 of the best-of-5 semifinals in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Thursday, April 9 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Leading that three-point assault was guard Jayson Castro.
Barely 24 hours after cementing his place in history as one of the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players, Castro came out firing with a double-double of 27 points and 10 assists. His hands refused to cool down as he went a near-perfect 8-of-9 from long range.
“Jayson is Jayson,” said head coach Jong Uichico. “If he doesn’t score points, he’s evolved his game into assisting. He’s developed the game not only in the scoring but also in the assisting part where he creates for his open teammates. He’s evolved into that kind of player.”
Import Ivan Johnson added 26 points, including 11 in the fourth, and 14 rebounds. He also had 4 assists. Aaron Aban scattered 17 markers, while Ranidel de Ocampo had 14 on 4-of-5 from downtown. Jay Washington had 10 points for Talk ’N Text, which now has a 2-1 series edge.
The Texters knocked down triple after triple in the early stages of the fourth, as well as in crucial stretches through the entire game, to keep the Hotshots at a safe distance.
They led by 102-92 after a De Ocampo trey with 6:26 left. Purefoods inched to within 108-103 with under two minutes to go but Castro drained a long one to stretch Talk 'N Text's advantage to 111-103 with 1:13 left.
Castro, who hit 18 points in the first half, was scoreless in third but banked in a long triple from the top of the key as time expired in that quarter to give the Texters an 89-80 edge entering the last frame. He converted on his last 7 triple attempts, per PBA Head Statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
“There were open shots, we made it tonight. Some big shots,” Uichico said.
Denzel Bowles put the Hotshots on his broad shoulders with his 39 poins, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. PJ Simon brought up the rear once again with 18 points off the bench, including key baskets in the fourth that stopped the Texters from breaking the game wide open.
James Yap, who has been reliable this series, added 11 but was benched for the entire fourth quarter. Marc Pingris contributed 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Game 4 is happening on Saturday, April 11 as the Hotshots try to extend the series.
TALK N' TEXT (111) - Castro 27, Johnson 26, Aban 17, De Ocampo 14, Washington 10, Alas 9, Williams 6, Rosser 2, Fonacier 0.
PUREFOODS (107) - Bowles 39, Simon 18, Yap 11, Pingris 10, Devance 9, Barroca 8, Reavis 4, Mallari 4, Maliksi 4.
Quarters: 32-33, 63-60, 89-80, 111-107