MANILA, Philippines – The Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters barely even broke a sweat.
Starting the game like a house on fire, the Tropang Texters erected an early double-digit lead and never looked back en route to destroying the Barako Bull Energy, 127-97, to advance to the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday, March 28, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ivan Johnson was unstoppable on Saturday, finishing with 35 points on 13-of-19 shooting – including a 6-of-11 display from downtown – in addition to 15 rebounds. Jayson Castro was also superb, putting up 18 points, dishing out 7 assists, and connecting on 4 triples.
“Ganda nang shooting namin ngayon, kaya medyo lumaki [yung] lamang,” Talk ’N Text head coach Jong Uichico said after the contest.
(Our shooting was great today, so that’s why our lead increased.)
The Tropang Texters shot an impressive 54% from the floor and connected on 17 of their 36 attempts for downtown. Ironically, TNT’s shooting from downtown (47%) was just as good as their display at the foul line (8-of-17, 47%).
Talk ’N Text, who led by as much as 37, also did a superb job sharing the ball, finishing with 30 assists. They now await the winner of the quarterfinal series between the Purefoods Hotshots and Alaska Aces to determine who they face in the semis.
“Well, syempre, pag dating nang semis, ibang usapan na (When it comes to the semis, that’s a different discussion already). You’re playing the best of the best,” said Uichico.
“It’s either Purefoods or Alaska, so we should always be prepared.”
Uichico doesn’t have a preference on an opponent, indicating that both squads present a unique set of challenges
“They’re both tough teams, they’re both tough to play. We lost to Purefoods and we had a close game [against] Alaska.”
“We’re good that we went to the semifinals. Kung sino man nanduon (whoever’s there), we’ll try our very best,” he later said.
Barako Bull was led by import Solomon Alabi, who put up 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Local JC Intal also finished his bounce-back conference on a high note, putting up 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting plus 8 rebounds.
Barako Bull allowed their opponents to score 75 points in the first two quarters, which is the PBA’s season high for most points scored in a half.
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