TALK ‘N Text got off to a strong start before holding off a final stand by an injury-plagued Rain or Shine side to pull off a 99-91 victory and a 3-0 sweep of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal playoff on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Texters got off to a 14-2 start and never trailed again as the flagship franchise of the Manny V. Pangilinan group marched to the Finals for the second time in the last five conferences while stretching its unbeaten record to 13 games.
In so doing, the Norman Black-mentored side matched the franchise record for consecutive wins, which it established during the 2010 Fiesta Cup.
Ryan Reyes played the fireman’s role by firing five three-point shots in the game. His back-to-back triples doused cold water on Rain or Shine’s repeated rallies in the fourth period, which saw the team threaten at 89-83 after trailing by as many as 17 points in the second half.
Reyes, one of Black’s reliable defensive aces, finished the game with 15 points, going 5-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc. The Texters made 14 three-pointers in all.
A hobbling Wayne Chism played through an MCL sprain on his left knee, carrying the Elasto Painters on his broad shoulders to finish with 31 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists.
“It’s an extremely hard-fought game. Both teams played very well,” said Black, who is now in his 16th Finals appearance as a PBA coach and will now be gunning for his 12th PBA championship as the Texters await the winner of the San Mig-Air21 semifinal series.
"But I have to give Chism a lot of credit for coming out to play tonight despite the fact that he had a knee injury."
Import Richard Howell led the Tropang Texters with 26 points and 19 rebounds, while the local crew bannered by Ranidel de Ocampo, Jason Castro, and Larry Fonacier stepped up once more in the close-out game of the series.
De Ocampo finished with 15 points, while Castro, the leading candidate for the Best Player of the Conference award, added 10 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, with Fonacier chipping in 10 points.
Raymond Almazan led Rain or Shine’s local scoring with 13 points and six rebounds, though the biggest disappointment was Jeff Chan, who, despite scoring 11 points, went 0-of-7 from the three-point zone.
Talk N Text (99) -- Howell 26, De Ocampo 15, Reyes 15, Castro 10, Fonacier 10, Williams 7, Seigle 6, Canaleta 6, Alapag 3, Carey 1, Aban 0.
Rain or Shine (91) -- Chism 31, Almazan 13, Norwood 12, Chan 11, Rodriguez 9, Uyloan 5, Tang 5, Nuyles 2, Teng 2, Belga 1, Arana 0, Lee 0.
Quarterscores: 30-17; 55-45; 80-64; 99-91.