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    Much-maligned Texters import redeems self with clutch baskets against Air21

    Feb 15, 2013

    TALK 'N Text squandered a 24-point lead but managed to hold on mainly through the timely baskets of import Keith Benson, escaping with a 86-83 win over a fighting Air21 side on Friday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    KG Canaleta played through flu as he almost single-handedly carried the Express back from the depths of a double-digit deficit, hitting five of his seven three-pointers in a stretch that saw the unfancied team claw within 77-78 of Talk 'N Text, time down to three minutes and nine seconds.

    The 6-11 Benson, however, came through with back-to-back baskets, including a completed three-point play to save the day for the Tropang Texters.

    Air21 had one final shot to send the game into overtime, but Bonbon Custodio’s last-second attempt from three-point land off a broken play failed to find the mark, allowing Talk ‘N Text to chalk up its first victory this conference.

    “It got a little bit scary in the end with KG hitting those three-point shots. They (Express) went small in their lineup and it worked to their advantage. Luckily, we had some stops down the stretch,” said a relieved Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.

    Two of the Tropang Texters’ top guns – Kelly Williams and Jimmy Alapag - went scoreless in the game, but Ranidel de Ocampo and Jared Dillinger carried the offensive load for the locals to support Benson.

    Benson bounced back from a quiet PBA debut in a loss to Meralco as he led the Tropang Texters with 30 points, 18 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 36 minutes of action.

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    Canaleta led the Express with 23 points on seven-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc, to go along with six rebounds, two assists and three steals.

    Import Michael Dunigan, who led the Express in their 74-70 win against the Barangay Ginebra Kings on Sunday, had a quiet 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

    The scores:

    Talk ‘N Text 86 - Benson 30, De Ocampo 19, Dillinger 14, Reyes 8, Al-Hussaini 5, Castro 5, Fonacier 5, Williams 0, Alapag 0, Carey 0

    Air21 83 - Canaleta 23, Dunigan 19, Cortez 11, Custodio 8, Baclao 5, Ritualo 5, Wilson 4, Menor 2, Reyes 2, Isip 2, Arnoleda 2, Omolon 0

    Quarterscores: 23-18, 52-33, 72-51, 86-83

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