JIMMY Alapag buried Rain or Shine with an avalanche of three-point shots in the fourth quarter as Talk ‘N Text pulled off a come-from-behind 89-80 victory to erect a 3-0 lead in their the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.
Alapag, the smallest guy on the floor, stood tall on offense, knocking down three big triples to touch off a murderous 28-10 windup to move Talk ‘N Text within a victory of a sweep of the best-of-seven series and a third successive championship in the all-Filipino tournament.
“We put ourselves in a position where we can go for the win on Wednesday,” Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black said after the game. “Defense held up for us again today.
"They (Elasto Painters) came up with some defensive switches and we were a little bit shocked at first. But the adjustment we made on defense in the fourth quarter helped us a lot."
No team has come back from an 0-3 Finals deficit in the 38-year history of the league.
Black said his job now is to convince the team to stay focused and get the fourth win on Wednesday to complete a sweep of the title series.
“I’m always disappointed when we lose. My job from now till Wednesday is for my players to stay focus and stay energized,” said Black.
“Defense held up for us again today. They (Elasto Painters) came up with some defensive switches and we were a little bit shocked at first. But the adjustment we made on defense in the fourth quarter helped us a lot. We now put ourselves in a good position to win the championship,” added the man responsible for the five straight championships of Ateneo in the recent UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Black said he was relieved to see Alapag nail the biggest baskets of the game.
“We just want to hang around and get a chance to win. Down the stretch, Jimmy hit a couple of threes for us that basically put some separation on the game for us,” he said.
The Tropang Texters hit five baskets from beyond the arc in the final period with Alapag accounting for three while Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro added one basket apiece, rallying the team back from a nine-point deficit.
Like in the first two games, Talk ‘N Text’s perimeter defense was at its best, holding down Rain or Shine to just 18.2 percent from three-point range on 4-of-22 shooting.
Rookie Chris Tiu shot a personal conference-best of 14 points to lead Rain or Shine in scoring, repeatedly posting up the the smaller Alapag for most part of the game.
But Black credited Talk ‘N Text’s collective effort on defense as it eventually shut down Rain or Shine from scoring inside, forcing Yeng Guiao’s team to settle for outside jumpers.
Talk ‘N Text (89) -- Castro 19, Alapag 15, De Ocampo 13, Reyes 11, Williams 11, Carey 6, Dillinger 5, Fonacier 5, Peek 4, Aban 0.
Rain or Shine (80) -- Tiu 14, Cruz 11, Rodriguez 10, Arana 10, Ibanes 8, Lee 7, Belga 6, Norwood 5, Quinahan 4, Chan 3, Tang 2.
Quarterscores: 22-20; 42-39; 61-65; 89-80.