TALK 'N Text's rich championship experience once again came to the fore on Thursday night, beating Barangay Ginebra to reach the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jayson Castro knocked in 23 points for the Tropang Texters, who executed plays better and proved ruthless on the defensive end under the grinding pressure of a one-game knockout match.
In contrast, Ginebra shot poorly and lapsed into several turnovers in the fourth quarter during a decisive Talk 'N Text run that sealed the Texters' place in the Final Four opposite top seed San Miguel Beer.
“It’s really tough to play Ginebra, but I thought we defended them pretty well,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico after the win that knocked out his former team from title contention.
Ironically, Uichico was the last coach to lead Ginebra to a PBA championship in the 2008 Fiesta Conference.
Talk 'N Text and SMB begin their best-of-seven semifinal series on Friday.
Ranidel de Ocampo added 17, five boards and two blocks while rookie forward Matt Ganuelas-Rosser had another all-around game of 13 points, four blocks, three steals and four rebounds as the Texters avenged their opening-day loss to Ginebra in a big way.
The Gin Kings bombed out of the quarterfinal stage for the second straight conference under rookie coach Jeffrey Cariaso after scoring just one point in the final six minutes.
Ginebra had a total of 15 turnovers, with Mark Caguioa and Japeth Aguilar combining for half of those.
LA Tenorio led the Gin Kings with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Joseph Yeo was the other only double-digit scorer with 10, although he only shot 4-of-11 from the floor overall.
Talk 'N Text 83 - Castro 23, De Ocampo 17, Rosser 13, Alas 8, Carey 7, Reyes R.J. 6, Aban 4, Fonacier 3, Washington 2, Alapag 0, Reyes R. 0, Williams 0, Espiritu 0, Seigle 0.
Ginebra 67 - Tenorio 15, Yeo 10, Aguilar 9, Slaughter 8, Caguioa 8, Mamaril 6, Monfort 3, Reyes 3, Baracael 3, Ellis 2, Forrester 0, Urbiztondo 0, Helterbrand 0, Brondial 0.
Quarterscores: 25-22, 40-40, 65-58, 83-67