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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Momentum trumped rest.
The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters maintained their winning ways fresh from the semifinals to outplay the well-rested Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 99-92, and take game 1 of the best-of-7 Finals in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday, April 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ranidel de Ocampo showed the way by scattering 24 points on 7-of-13 field goals, while import Ivan Johnson wound up with 23 markers, 12 rebounds and 5 assists.
Jayson Castro, who had a huge target on his back coming into the Finals owing to his explosive last two games, settled for 14 points, 5 boards and 5 assists.
Rookie Matt Ganuelas-Rosser chipped in 10 points.
Despite gaining the upperhand in what is expected to be a long series, Texters coach Jong Uichico looked anything but happy during the post-game interview.
“We’re happy we won but we’re not satisfied with the way we played,” admitted the multi-titled coach, lamenting his team allowed Rain or Shine too many points.
“Though we won, we didn’t show the level of emotion we had in the Purefoods games.”
Talk ‘N Text, though playing generally flat and shooting just 33-of-80 in total, looked better next to an even more listless Rain or Shine, who was more well-rested after a semifinals sweep of Meralco.
Painters coach Yeng Guiao expressed during the Finals presser that game 1 should go to his team, saying that it would be a “setback” for if they failed to draw first blood.
But Talk ‘N Text, still hot from winning their last 3 games to nip Purefoods in the 4-game semis, still had enough steam to carry them, leading from the get-go.
Castro, though not as hot as his previous games, was still responsible for the dagger three-pointer with less than two minutes to play.
Wayne Chism topscored for the Painters with 34 points and 15 rebounds, while Paul Lee, the only other player in double figures on their side, had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
As expected, both teams canceled each other out in three-point shooting with 8 apiece. But it was the turnovers that killed Rain or Shine with 17 compared to just 8 by Talk ‘N Text.
“We’ll have to try a solution in practice to the turnovers we committed,” Guiao said.
Despite constantly being within striking distance even in the fourth, Rain or Shine was unable to make a serious run. They will try to even things out on Friday.
With physicality another expected element of the series, game 1 did not escape without a hitch.
A commotion ensued in the 3:36 mark of the third after Johnson bumped into Guiao after a play, causing the coach to lose his balance and clutch the bench.
Johnson was whistled for a technical foul but Lee missed the charity.
Uichico admitted he did not see what happened but was told that Johnson did not bump Guiao intentionally.
Guiao, however, saw the replay and was adamant Johnson had clear visual of him. Johnson apologized right after but Guiao already expects the league to “do something about.”
TALK N’ TEXT (99) – De Ocampo 24, Johnson 23, Castro 14, Rosser 10, Fonacier 8, Williams 8, Washington 5, Alas 5, Carey 2, Aban 0.
RAIN OR SHINE (92) – Chism 34, Lee 13, Almazan 9, Chan 8, Tang 6, Norwood 5, Tiu 5, Ibanes 4, Arana 3, Belga 2, Quinahan 2, Cruz Jervy 1, Uyloan 0, Cruz Jericho 0.
Quarters: 28-23, 49-41, 76-70, 99-92