TALK 'N Text rode on the red-hot shooting of its veterans and leaned on the strong defensive presence of import Richard Howell to crush defending champion Alaska, 85-72 in the main game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opener Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Out to redeem themselves after failing to win a fourth straight Philippine Cup championship, the Tropang Texters played with a lot of energy against the Aces, who never got untracked despite bringing back reigning Best Import Robert Dozier.
Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro led Talk ‘N Text’s game-long brilliance, firing away 21 and 15 points, respectively as the team enjoyed leads of as much as 20 points, 73-53, entering the final period.
But the Tropang Texters undeniably got a huge lift from Howell, who finished the game with only 15 points but had a monster 30 rebounds in a dominant debut in Asia’s first ever pro league.
“It’s a great start for us and I’m happy for the team. Richard (Howell) is not a great offensive player but a good defender and a great rebounder. It’s something that we need,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black after the game.
With Howell providing the work off the boards, the Tropang Texters outrebounded the Aces, 64-47.
Black also credited the team’s defense for holding Alaska to just 32.9 percent shooting from the field.
Dozier led the Aces with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks while flamboyant sophomore forward Calvin Abueva also had a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds.
TALK N' TEXT (85) -- De Ocampo 21, Howell 15, Castro 12, Alapag 11, Canaleta 9, Reyes Ry. 8, Fonacier 5, Reyes Ro. 2, Carey 2, Baclao 0.
ALASKA (72) -- Dozier 16, Abueva 16, Baguio 13, Thoss 8, Jazul 7, Casio 5, Espinas 3, Dela Cruz 2, Hontiveros 2.
Quarterscores: 22-22; 45-35; 73-53; 85-72.