MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – What a game. What a series. What a classic.
The Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters provided basketball fans a memorable battle that will forever live in the PBA’s archives.
For the first time in PBA Finals history, a Game 7 needed two overtimes to determine a champion.
On Wednesday, April 29, both Rain or Shine and Talk ’N Text were unwilling to succumb to the other. Big shot after another, the two teams fought hard until the final buzzer. But only one could come away from the Smart Araneta Coliseum as the Commissioner’s Cup champion, and thanks to huge shots in the second overtime by Finals MVP Ranidel De Ocampo, it was Talk ’N Text who did just that, 121-119.
De Ocampo, scored his team’s first 8 points in the second OT, helping establish a 6-point lead that would last until the end of the game thanks to clutch free throw shooting from Ivan Johnson, Larry Fonacier, and Jayson Castro. De Ocampo finished with a career-high 34 points to go with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 three-pointers.
Johnson put up 30 points and 11 boards, while Castro recorded 24 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds to cap off his Best Player of the Conference campaign.
“Grabe yung Rain or Shine,” said Talk ’N Text head coach Jong Uichico, who won his ninth PBA championship and first since the 2008 Fiesta Conference. “They just kept coming back and coming back… it’s really hard to play Rain or Shine when they got it going.”
“This is the same,” he said about winning the title. “When you lose, it’s the same, it never changes. When you win, it’s the same, it never changes.”
Talk ’N Text was ahead by 15 at one point in the third quarter, but in typical Rain or Shine fashion, the Elasto Painters rallied. Regulation went down to the wire, with the Tropang Texters leading 96-91 with 1:09 to go. Wayne Chism hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to two, and after Johnson split a visit to the foul line, the Best Import of the Conference hit a tough, one-handed three-pointer in between two defenders that eventually sent the game into OT.
Rain or Shine was ahead 104-101 with 1:47 left in the first overtime thanks to five straight points by Chism. But on the next play, Johnson hit a tough, step-back 3-ball over Jireh Ibanes to tie the match. Both clubs then exchanged a basket before Paul Lee and Castro took turns missing potential game-winners, yielding a second extra five-minute session.
In double OT, De Ocampo kicked the scoring off with a bank shot and 3-pointer. After Chris Tiu made two free throws, De Ocampo hit another 3-pointer to make the count 114-108.
A couple of free throws by Johnson extended his team’s lead to 118-113 with 24 seconds remaining. Paul Lee scored a layup off a time-out to trim the deficit, but Castro made a free throw to bring the lead back up to four. Off another Rain or Shine time-out, Lee was left open in the right corner and hit a 3-ball to make it a one-point deficit.
Fonacier was then fouled and made both charities, extending the Tropang Texters lead to three. With three seconds remaining, Lee was fouled but split his free throws, leading to a title-sealing rebound by Johnson.
Chism was spectacular, finishing with 34 points and 29 rebounds. Lee was great as well, posting a career-high 38 points in addition to 7 boards and 7 triples. Tiu put up 10 points, but shot just 2-of-13 from the field.
“I would like to thank Boss MVP, Mr. Pangilinan, for giving me this opportunity,” said Uichico, who returned to coaching after a three-year hiatus this season and won Talk ’N Text their first title in two years (2013 Philippine Cup) in just his second conference with the team.
Uichico also became just the sixth coach in league history to win a title with three different teams, joining Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao, Chot Reyes, Norman Black, Tommy Manotoc, and Baby Dalupan. Uichico’s ninth title puts him fourth most all time in league history among coaches.
Larry Fonacier and Jay Washington were also key factors in Game 7, combining for 22 points and 4 triples.
The Tropang Texters went up by as much as 16, 21-5, in the first quarter thanks to an 18-2 run wherein they went 6-of-7 from the field and hit 3 shots from downtown. Overall, TNT shot 45% from the floor and 45% from 3-point range.
TALK N’ TEXT (121) – De Ocampo 34, Johnson 30, Castro 24, Fonacier 12, Washington 10, Carey 9, Rosser 2, Alas 0, Miller 0
RAIN OR SHINE (119) – Lee 38, Chism 34, Tiu 10, Uyloan 8, Ibanes 8, Norwood 6, Arana 5, Cruz Jericho 4, Quinahan 4, Belga 2, Tang 0, Chan 0, Almazan 0
Quarter Scoring: 29-21, 50-42, 76-69, 97-97, 106-106, 121-119
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