TALK ‘N Text withstood a familiar Alaska comeback to hack out a 101-93 victory in a heated affair on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and claim the second seed in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs.
The Tropang Texters built a 25-point third-quarter lead, but saw the Aces, who carved out an identity as the comeback kings in the Philippine Cup, fight back and cut the deficit to single digit late in the game.
But with prolific import Ivan Johnson scattering 47 points on 16-of-28 shooting, on top of 10 boards in just 37 minutes, the Texters held on for their eighth win in 11 games, good for second spot that entails a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The Texters, who dealt the Aces their fourth loss in 10 games, also relegated Purefoods (8-3), which entered Sunday on top, to third spot.
The match heated up in the end between Johnson and Aces star Calvin Abueva in an exchange that resulted in a commotion as both teams were retreating to their respective dugouts.
“Malapit na mag-playoffs, so the intensity and emotion are so high,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said. “And they (Aces) were trying to get a certain advantage somewhere.”
The Aces appeared to get in the heads of the Texters as they rallied and nudged to within five points, 93-88, with 37.7 seconds to go after a left-wing triple from Dondon Hontiveros off a screen coming off a timeout.
Import Damion James and RJ Jazul conspired with the Hontiveros in the rally for Alaska,w hich outscored the Texters, 37-27, in the payoff period.
The Aces, however, had no answer, to Johnson, who buried nine triples and made all his six charities, two coming in a crucial juncture that made it 97-90.
TALK N' TEXT 101 – Johnson 47, De Ocampo 20, Castro 10, Washington 8, Fonacier 7, Ganuelas-Rosser 7, Alas 2, Aban 0
ALASKA 93 – James 23, Abueva 16, Hontiveros 11, Baguio 10, Casio 10, Jazul 9, Manuel 6, Exciminiano 4, Banchero 2, Thoss 2, Menk 0
Quarterscores: 27-25, 48-31, 74-56, 101-93