IMPORT Henry Sims and June Mar Fajardo dominated the paint while Dennis Miranda played one of his best games in a long while as Petron turned back Talk ‘N Text, 87-76 at the close of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With nothing at stake in the game, Petron coach Olsen Racela kept the Boosters motivated as they ended a nine-game losing streak to the PLDT franchise that dated back to last season.
“It’s hard to motivate a team when there’s nothing at stake. But we told the guys, we haven’t won against Talk ‘N Text in a long while so that was our motivation. We’ve lost nine straight since last year,” said Racela.
The victory gave the Petron the psychological edge entering the playoffs, which the Boosters will begin with a best-of-three quarterfinal showdown with the same team.
With their eighth win in 14 games, the Boosters ended up as the No. 3 seed while Talk 'N Text emerged as No. 6 after finishing the elims in a three-way tie with Meralco and Ginebra at 7-7.
The two squads start their series on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-10 Sims heated up late in the game, scoring on a series of jumpers and a follow-up dunk, while Fajardo barreled his way for several baskets in the paint as Petron’s two big boys threw their weight around.
Sims had his first 20-20 performance after finishing the game with 22 points and 23 rebounds while the rookie Fajardo added 17 points, 10 rebounds and two shot blocks.
“Ganun naman ang ginagawa namin in the past. Henry and June Mar together or Henry and Arwind (Santos) together. But that was a good combo inside kanina,” said Racela.
"It was a really good game for June Mar kasi kahit sino ilagay sa kanya, whether local or import, he was hard to stop."
Petron 87 - Sims 22, Fajardo 17, Miranda 14, Tubid 10, Santos 8, Lassiter 5, Lutz 4, Washington 3, Sison 2, Cabagnot 2, Pena 0
Talk ‘N Text 76 - Jordan 18, Alapag 17, De Ocampo 13, Castro 8, Dillinger 7, Reyes 5, Al-Hussaini 4, Fonacier 2, Peek 2, Raymundo 0, Aban 0, Gamalinda 0
Quarterscores: 19-19, 37-33, 56-53, 87-76