PETRON Blaze started out like a house on fire, cooled down a little bit in the final period before recovering its bearing to put away three-time champion Talk ‘N Text, 77-63 and grab a share of the lead in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Hard hit by early-season injuries Alex Cabagnot (torn plantar), Chico Lanete (strained hamstring), Ronald Tubid (knee) and Yousef Taha (knee), the Boosters hardly showed signs of slowing down as they posted leads as big as 26 points, 54-28, on a basket by Doug Kramer late in the first half.
The Tropang Texters, without injured stars Ranidel de Ocampo (strained calf muscle) and Ryan Reyes (hamstring), summoned enough fight to pull within 60-70 on two free throws by Jimmy Alapag.
But that was the closest the Tropang Texters could get as Arwind Santos and Chris Lutz put the finishing touches to the Blaze Boosters' second win in as many games this season.
“We’re really happy with the effort we gave tonight. Though we were kind of shorthanded, we managed to make do with what we have,” Petron coach Gee Abanilla said after his team tied idle Rain or Shine at the top of the standings in the season-opening tournament.
Abanilla refused to say the double-digit win was in anyway a statement game, considering that Talk ‘N Text didn’t play with two of its best scorers and defenders.
“No, it’s not (a statement game). Maybe we just caught them (Tropang Texters) off-guard, plus they didn’t have Ranidel and Ryan Reyes,” he said,
Petron’s airtight defense held Talk ‘N Text to just 27.2 percent shooting from the field overall.
Gilas Pilipinas mainstays Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag and Larry Fonacier combined to shoot just 10-of-37 from the field overall, typifying the defending champions’ struggle in the game.
Talk ‘N Text dropped to 1-1, in a tie with Alaska and Gloobalport, which whipped Air21, 114-100, in the day's opening game.
Petron 77 - Santos 15, Lassiter 13, Lutz 12, Fajardo 10, Kramer 10, Hubalde 8, Ross 6, Deutchman 3, Duncil 0.
Talk N' Text 63 - Castro 15, Baclao 10, Alapag 9, Fonacier 8, Anthony 7, Poligrates 4, Williams 3, Aban 2, Ferriols 2, Carey 2, Peek 1, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 22-12, 55-32, 68-51, 77-63