A RESILIENT Talk ‘n Text sent Barangay Ginebra crashing back to earth with a nail-biting 104-103 triumph in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tropang Texters climbed out of an early double-digit hole, before showing steely nerves down the stretch to frustrate the Gin Kings and deny them of a hat-trick of victories.
Jayson Castro continued to show why he is now the bona-fide leader of the Texters with a season-high 31 points—all in the last three quarters, on top of nine assists and six boards.
None more, however, was more important than The Blur’s performance on the defensive end as he tallied three steals, including one on LA Tenorio, picking the pocket of his Ginebra counterpart in the Kings’ last possession that preserved the victory, the Texters’ fourth in five games.
TNT, which also gained a share of second spot with Purefoods, also dealt Ginebra its third loss in five outings.
“It’s good we were able to come back,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said. “We held (down) their strengths the best way we could.”
Riding the crest of back-to-back victories, the Kings erected a 41-24 lead early in the second quarter after an LA Tenorio bucket barely five minutes gone by in the period.
But the Texters clawed back behind Castro, who bounced back after missing all his three attempts to wound up scoreless in the first canto.
The Gilas Pilipinas playmaker, who also contributed had to shoulder most of the load with import Richard Howell hobbled by foul trouble, although the American big man still delivered solid numbers of 20 points, 17 boards, and three assists in 32 minutes.
Ginebra import Michael Dunigan fared better than his counterpart as he registered 30 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocks that all went for naught.
Dunigan joined forces with Joseph Yeo in trying to help Ginebra reclaim the lead as the latter fired all of his 12 points in the payoff period, including a contested right-wing three-pointer that put the Kings to within a point with 2.8 seconds left.
The Kings gained another chance to inch closer after Howell committed a turnover off a timeout, but Ginebra failed to capitalize as it committed an own error in its final possession.
TNT 104 – Castro 31, Howell 20, De Ocampo 17, Rosser 15, Alas 7, Reyes R. J. 7, Fonacier 4, Miller 3, Washington 0, Carey 0
GIN 103 – Dunigan 30, Baracael 20, Tenorio 14, Yeo 12, Caguioa 11, Slaughter 9, Mamaril 4, Monfort 3, Aguilar 0, Ellis 0
Quarterscores: 20-28, 49-52, 79-75, 104-103