KIA Motors leaned on the hot shooting of unheralded guard Hyram Bagatsing and the imposing inside presence of import Peter John Ramos to claim another major victim in Talk ‘N Text, 106-103, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 30-year-old Bagatsing, who went undrafted in the 2010 PBA rookie draft, went six-of-seven from beyond the three-point arc for the Carnival, who fought back from a 17-point first-half deficit to continue their giant-killing ways in a conference where they've previously brought down Purefoods and San Miguel Beer.
The former De La Salle shooting guard’s sixth and final three-pointer gave KIA the lead for good at 98-96, heading into the last two minutes.
Veteran guard Leo Avenido's three-pointer and a basket inside by Ramos padded KIA's lead to 105-98 with 1:13 left, but the Tropang Texters went on a last-gasp fightback to pull within 103-106 in the endgame.
The Tropang Texters even had a chance to win the game, but Ranidel de Ocampo’s top-of-the-key three-point attempt with three seconds to go missed the mark, allowing the Carnival to run away with their first-ever back-to-back wins in franchise history.
“Ibig sabihin, maganda yung ginagawa ng mga players at sa training ng mga players natin, kaya maganda ang resulta,” said KIA playing coach Manny Pacquiao after a game that saw him go scoreless after playing for six-and-a-half minutes.
Pacquiao's expansion side has now beaten three teams with a combined 39 championships as it moved up to eighth spot with a 3-4 (win-loss) card.
Bagatsing finished with a career-high 21 points while free agent pickup Avenido chipped in 16 for KIA, which made a season high-tying 18 three-pointers as well as a franchise-best 33 assists in the game.
Ramos fell just one assist shy of a triple-double after tallying 24 points, 25 rebounds and nine assists. However, the 7-foot-3 behemoth also had 10 turnovers.
On the other hand, Talk 'N Text suffered just their second loss in seven games as it fell half a game behind league-leader Meralco (5-1).
KIA whipped Blackwater, 85-69, during the season-opening game last October at the Philippine Arena.
Jayson Castro led Talk ‘N Text with 24 points while import Ivan Johnson added 21 points and 12 rebounds.