TALK ‘N Text import Paul Harris may have emerged the hero in the Tropang Texters’ 84-81 overtime win against San Mig Super Coffee that forced a deciding game in their PBA Governors Cup semifinals series on Wednesday.
But the American reinforcement nearly turned into a villain in the eyes of the Texters’ fans as he figured in two head-scratching plays in regulation that allowed the Mixers to force overtime — an errant pass that led to a turnover, and letting James Yap score the one-hander that forced the extra session.
Maybe that’s why the former Syracuse standout isn’t taking all the credit for the victory as he pointed to the team’s bench players for making the biggest contributions to the Texters’ fight for playoff survival.
“Some of the guys coming off the bench are so huge, and I’m talking of Danny Seigle and a couple of other guys, who are coming up so huge. Just unbelievable,” said Harris, who registered 22 points and 12 boards.
For the second straight game, Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black’s decision to dig deep into his bench and use all 15 of his players worked wonders for the Texters, who are out to prevent the Mixers from winning a rare grand slam this season.
Aside from Seigle, three other Talk ‘N Text players contributed five or more points in a physical, down-the-wire Game Four that was only decided in the dying seconds when San Mig forward Joe Devance misfired on his desperation three-point attempt.
“I think because of those guys (bench players), we won the (last) two games. My shots have been off but the minutes they’ve been giving are so tremendous,” added the Talk ‘N Text comebacking import.
“They have been our MVPs, seriously.”
Harris said even though nobody believed in them after going down to a 0-2 hole, he told his teammates to keep their heads high as they try to launch their comeback bid.
“I told the guys when we’re down 0-2, before we left locker room, I believe that we can do it (win the series). We just got to take it one game at a time,” he said.
“And now we did, tie it at 2-2, last game, we just let it all out there and may the best team win.”
Talk ‘N Text will try to take Game Five on Friday and become just the fourth team in league history to recover from a 0-2 deficit after Crispa in 1975, Purefoods (1990) and Barangay Ginebra (2010).