JASON Castro led Talk 'N Text’s first half offensive to pull away from Blackwater, 90-80, on Saturday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna and keep its slim chance of claiming an automatic semifinal berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The 5-foot-7 Castro turned on the heat in the second quarter, which saw the Texters outscore the Elite, 30-15, sinking jumpers and repeatedly attacking the basket to draw fouls from Blackwater’s big men to grab a 46-32 halftime lead.
Talk ’N Text stretched its lead to 22 points in the third quarter, before weathering a minor Blackwater rally in the final period to book its sixth win in nine starts.
The Elite dropped to 0-10 and now in danger of finishing their maiden PBA season without a win.
Bryan Faundo paced the woeful Elite with 22 points, while Bambam Gamalinda, a former Texter, added 17.
Should Alaska and San Miguel manage to reach nine wins next week, Talk ’N Text would have to win its last two games to at least assure itself of a spot in the third to sixth seeding, which would guarantee a twice-to-beat edge in the first phase of the playoffs.
The Texters have two playoff-bound squads left in their assignments in the eliminations — defending champion Purefoods Star next Wednesday followed by San Miguel Beer on Dec. 5.
On the other hand, Blackwater tries to avoid a winless campaign when it faces San Miguel Beer in the final elimination playdate on Dec. 9 at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The last team to finish with a winless record in a conference was the Shopinas Clickers/Air21 Express, which had a 0–14 record in the 2012 Philippine Cup eliminations, setting a new all-time record for
consecutive losses in a single conference, a record previously held by the 1982 Great Taste team (Reinforced Filipino Conference) and the 1984 Country Fair Hotdogs (2nd All-Filipino Conference).
Talk ’N Text 90 - Castro 21, Reyes Rob 10, Washington 9, Alas 9, Aban 9, Alapag 8, Seigle 7, Carey 6, Fonacier 4, Rosser 4, De Ocampo 3, Aguilar 0, Reyes Ryan 0, Espiritu 0.
Blackwater 80 - Faundo 22, Gamalinda 17, Celiz 14, Laure 8, Heruela 7, Timberlake 5, Tiongson 3, Erram 2, Menor 2, Nuyles 0, Artadi 0, Ballesteros 0, Austria 0, Salvacion 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17; 46-32; 66-57; 90-80.