De Ocampo heats up late as Texters end 4-game slide
MANILA, Philippines – It was not beautiful and the spark came almost too late, but it’s still a win for a struggling champion.
Ranidel de Ocampo buried 3 clutch triples to power the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters past the dangerous Blackwater Elite, 98-91, and put a stop to their miserable 4-game losing skid in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday, June 12 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
De Ocampo, who poured 9 of his total 14 points in the payoff period, knocked down crucial three-pointers within the final 3:18 minutes to withstand a last-gasp attempt by the lowly Blackwater to steal one from this season’s Commissioner’s Cup champions.
High-flying rookie Matt Ganuelas-Rosser displayed his athleticism and aggression all game long to lead the slumping Texters with 21 points, 9 rebounds and two blocks off the bench.
Gunner Larry Fonacier connected on 4-of-6 from downtown as he scattered 20 points, while Asian import Sam Daghles and Danny Seigle contributed 15 and 10 points in the win.
The victory, however, does not solve the Texters’ many problems.
“We haven’t been playing well. We just have to keep on working and hopefully things turn around,” said head coach Jong Uichico, citing specific problems such as rotation for a talent-laden squad.
“It’s a little of everything. One example is rotation, how we can rotate players that we don’t suffer too much on both ends of the floor,” he explained. “And how they can play together in terms of that rotation.”
That rotation problem is reflective of how Talk ’N Text’s bench carried the offense, scoring 60 of the team’s total output, while the starters struggled.
Import Steffphon Pettigrew had a conference-low 7 points on two-of-5 field goals in less than 29 minutes. Star guard Jayson Castro has been shaky this conference and produced only 7 points, but orchestrated the offense with 6 assists.
Brian Heruela led the Elite with a near triple-double of 21 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds as import Marcus Cousins added 16 markers and 9 boards.
Bryan Faundo and Bambam Gamalinda chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively, as Blackwater dropped its fourth straight game and are at 1-7.
The win very nearly slipped from Talk ’N Text’s grasp as they allowed the last-place Blackwater to open up a 16-point lead early in the second quarter.
It took some time for the Texters to get going as they tasted the lead only at the 9:59 mark of the fourth after Fonacier converted from downtown, 75-73.
Uichico says their slow performance was not forced by Blackwater.
“Nothing to do too much with Blackwater because we know they play hard every game. We just have to take care of ourselves. It’s more on our side than the opponent’s side.”
As emphatic was De Ocampo’s clutch long range swishes were, it did not deter the hard-fighting Elite as they continued to fight and came to within 96-91 inside the last minute after two Heruela free throws.
But it was not enough as Rosser sealed the deal with a pair of charities for the final tally. With the win, Talk ’N Text catapulted itself to 8th place with a 4-5 record after toiling in 10th place outside of the playoffs before tonight.
The Texters are one step closer to their immediate goal.
“We have to get to the playoffs first,” Uichico said. “We have to win these next two games then we’ll take care of the next phase later on.”
Talk ’N Text has Purefoods and KIA for their last two assignments.
TALK N' TEXT 98 - Rosser 21, Fonacier 20, Daghles 15, De Ocampo 14, Seigle 10, Pettigrew 7, Castro 7, Williams 4, Carey 0, Aban 0.
BLACKWATER 91 - Heruela 21, Cousin 16, Faundo 14, Gamalinda 12, Cervantes 9, Celiz 5, Bulawan 5, Ballesteros 5, Acuna 3, Erram 1, Laure 0, Reyes 0.
Quarter scores: 16-24, 41-50, 70-71, 98-91.