TALK ‘N Text unleashed a crippling 30-11 blast during a pivotal stretch bridging the third and fourth periods as it took the fight out of Barangay Ginebra, 98-80 to grab a 2-1 lead in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
New import Tony Mitchell, a late replacement for seven-footer Jerome Jordan, debuted with 29 points and 12 rebounds while Larry Fonacier snapped out of shooting slump as the Tropang Texters moved a win away from a second successive appearance in the Finals this season.
Fonacier, who earned Best Player of the Game honors, fired 20 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the three-point arc after going just 1-of-10 from that range during the Texters' first four games of the playoffs.
On the other hand, Mitchell went into the game giving up a five-inch size disadvantage to Barangay Ginebra import Vernon Macklin. But what he lacked in height, he more than compensated with his quickness and scoring ability.
“This was a very interesting situation for us tonight. And I didn’t know what to expect going into the game. But Tony Mitchell reminds me of Tony Harris,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black, referring to the one-time PBA best import awardee who played for the defunct Swift team.
Black admitted bringing in Mitchell was a big gamble on their part. Yet, the 6-5 Mitchell, who is fresh from being named the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year, debuted with an impressive performance.
“We weren’t really sure how he would fair here in the Philippines considering this is a conference with big imports," said Black. “Fortunately for us, he played pretty well today. I’m happy with his performance considering that this was just his first game in Philippine soil.”
TALK N' TEXT 98 - Mitchell 29, Fonacier 20, Castro 15, De Ocampo 15, Peek 6, Raymundo 5, Reyes 4, Ferriols 3, Aban 1, Gamalinda 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Alvarez 0, Carey 0.
GINEBRA 80 - Macklin 17, Raymundo 17, Tenorio 10, Ellis 9, Helterbrand 9, Baracael 6, Labagala 4, Wilson 4, Urbiztondo 2, Maierhofer 2, Taha 0, Espiritu 0, Mamaril 0.
Quarterscores: 23-21, 43-48, 71-59, 98-80