RABEH Al-Hussaini and Jason Castro combined forces in leading Talk `N Text past Barako Bull, 101-98, on Saturday night, snapping the Texters' two-game losing skid in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ibalong Centrum of Recreation in Legazpi City.
Al-Hussaini played his best game as a Tropang Texter with 19 points as he converted his first nine shots of the game and helped the team complete a third-quarter fightback.
Castro added 18 and atoned for a costly turnover in the stretch run by scoring five straight points, including a huge three-pointer that put Talk `N Text in front to stay, 99-96.
The Tropang Texters snapped out of an uncharacteristic losing skein and improved to an even 3-3 card and force a tie for fourth place with sister-team Meralco and defending champion San Mig Coffee.
Import returnee Donnell Harvey suited up in his first game with the Tropang Texters after taking over the place of Keith Benson. He struggled for only eight points, but Al-Hussaini and Castro took over for the team, which trailed by as many as 14 points early in the game.
Al-Hussaini could not seem to miss as he scored Talk ‘N Text’s final six points of the third quarter which saw the Tropang Texters scoring 10 unanswered points to start the period and erase 51-61 halftime deficit and tie it at 61-61.
The game was tightly-fought from that point, before Barako Bull tied the match for the last time at 96-96 on two free throws by Sean Anthony to complete a steal off Castro with a minute and 42 seconds left in the game.
But Castro bounced back from the turnover by knocking in a pressure-packed three pointer, before hitting a driving lay-up with 1:03 left for a 101-96 Tropang Texters lead.
Barako Bull had two chances to force overtime.
With six seconds left, Jonas Villanueva dribbled the ball too long before it sailed out of bounds with a second left to play but the Energy Cola retaining possession.
Mark Macapagal did hit the game-tying three-pointer but the shot came a fraction later, allowing the Tropang Texters to escape with the win.
The Energy Cola suffered their third straight loss for a 3-4 win-loss slate.
Talk ‘N Text (101) – Al-Hussaini 19, Fonacier 18, Castro 18, Alapag 12, De Ocampo 11, Harvey 8, Williams 8, Reyes 3, Carey 2, Aban 2, Dillinger 0, Raymundo 0.
Barako Bull (98) – Pennisi 19, Seigle 18, Urbiztondo 14, Brock 14, Anthony 12, Macapagal 9, Villanueva 7, Kramer 2, Intal 2, Maliksi 1, Duncil 0, Weinstein 0.
Quarterscores: 30-32; 51-61; 81-78; 101-98.