TALK 'N Text went on a three-point shooting spree in the fourth quarter to beat out Rain or Shine, 91-85, and draw draw first blood in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinal series on Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jimmy Alapag and Jason Castro stood 10 feet tall for the Tropang Texters in a game marred by a shouting match between Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao and Talk ‘N Text import Richard Howell as tension suddenly rose between both camps in the final seconds.
Guiao was complaining near the officials' table with around 17 seconds to go when Howell walked between the fiery Rain or Shine coach and one of the game officials.
The temperamental Guiao tagged the 6-8 import on the side, prompting Howell to confront the former. Both benches nearly emptied at that point as players and coaches prevented Howell from getting near Guiao.
“It’s a very colorful (win). I think that’s probably the way the series is gonna go,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black, who was one of the first to pull Howell aside as he tried to pacify the former North Carolina State standout.
“It’s gonna be intense, physical and rugged. But we just have to have a good job controlling our emotions and focusing on playing basketball,” he added.
The ruckus started as Guiao complained about an out of bounds play with about 22 seconds to play which saw Talk ‘N Text guard Alapag save the ball into the waiting hands of Ranidel de Ocampo.
The Rain or Shine coach claimed the ball hit the end line before Alapag managed to retrieve possession.
“I thought there were some bad calls. I felt that the last play was our possession,” said Guiao said. “The out of bounds by Alapag was a clear out of bounds that the referees did not call.
"Again it is very critical for us to get breaks, but we just have to create our breaks and work a little harder the next time,” added Guiao, who played without Gabe Norwood and injured guard Chris Tiu.
Norwood attended the state dinner for US president Barack Obama on Monday.
The Texters, who trailed by as many as 10 points during the second half, peppered the Elasto Painters with four three-point shots in the final period, allowing them to move ahead at 84-76.
Alapag keyed Talk ‘N Text surge with three three-pointers while Howell came down with several offensive rebounds and putbacks late in the game to extend the team’s winning streak to 11 this conference.
The 11th straight win marks the third longest streak in franchise history.
Talk 'N Text 91 - Castro 16, Alapag 15, Howell 14, De Ocampo 13, Williams 10, Reyes 8, Canaleta 5, Seigle 4, Carey 4, Fonacier 2, Aban 0.
Rain or Shine 85 - Chism 25, Chan 18, Arana 10, Lee 9, Belga 7, Cruz 4, Rodriguez 4, Almazan 2, Tang 2, Nuyles 2, Ibanes 2, Uyloan 0, Teng 0.
Quarterscores: 26-24, 44-47, 64-66, 91-85