TALK ‘N Text’s unforgiving defense held Meralco to just two field goals inside the final five minutes to hack out an 80-72 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Tropang Texters proved a tough nut to crack in a gripping battle between two sister teams, unleashing an 11-3 finishing kick to chalk up their third straight win and improve to 4-2 overall for solo third spot.
The Bolts fell to 3-2 in a three-way tie for fourth to sixth spots with Rain or Shine and GlobalPort.
“We just squeaked by that game. we were not very aggressive at the start and we barely found the legs to score,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico after winning his faceoff with former Talk 'N Text coach Norman Black.
Black, who steered the Texters to the 2013 Philippine Cup championship, gave his former team fits with his trademark defense that kept Talk ‘N Text veterans Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo from making doing damage like they used to.
Uichico later paid tribute to the Bolts’ defense.
“Give credit to Meralco for playing great defense against us. And they were able to find a way to score. But at least, we found a way to win this game, important ito sa amin,” said Uichico, a former assistant at Meralco who, until last season, also served as a deputy of Black at Talk 'N Text.
Three players finished in double figures for the Tropang Texters led by Ryan Reyes with 17 points. De Ocampo managed to finish with 15, while Castro added 12 but shot 4-of-13 from the fieldoverall.
Jimmy Alapag added seven points, including four big free throws in the endgame to seal Meralco’s doom.
Gary David was the lone double-figure scorer for Meralco with 17, but he went scoreless in the fourth period.