ALASKA Milk played with a greater resolve and focus as it dismantled two-time champion Talk ‘N Text, 104-99, to level their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series at 2-2 on Friday night at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
JV Casio banged in 22 points, 12 coming in the final half, Cyrus Baguio added 18, while Best Player of the Conference candidate Calvin Abueva finished with a double-double of 15 points and 11 boards to forge the series standoff.
Game Five of the best-of-seven series will be on Sunday, also at the MOA Arena.
The Tropang Texters, who won Games One and Three, made a late-game rally, but time ran out on them as a big Baguio three-pointer, a couple of big rebounds by Abueva and clutch freethrows by Casio kept them at bay.
“It was a grind-out type of win. We know Talk ‘N Text is an explosive team. But we limited them to 18 points in the third quarter. Well, it’s not gonna be easy beating this team,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
Talk ‘N Text, which engaged Alaska in a shootout in the first half from beyond the arc, suddenly went ice-cold from the field in the third period as the boys of coach Norman Black wound up shooting just 19 percent.
Overall, the Tropang Texters struggled to find their range, making just 33 of their 85 attempts for 38.8 percent.
Alapag led Talk ‘N Text with 17 points, while Castro added 16.
Alaska 104 - Casio 22, Baguio 18, Abueva 15, Hontiveros 13, Baracael 12, Espinas 9, Thoss 9, Reyes 2, Jazul 2, Dela Cruz 2, Eman 0
Talk N Text 99 - Alapag 17, Castro 16, De Ocampo 14, Fonacier 12, Carey 12, Williams 11, Reyes 9, Peek 5, Dillinger 2, Aban 1, Raymundo 0, Alvarez 0, Ferriols 0
Quarterscores: 30-25, 55-56, 81-74, 104-99