FIT-AGAIN Jayson Castro provided the spark off the bench as Talk ‘N Text crushed a struggling NLEX side, 108-89, to forge a three-way logjam for second place in the PBA Governors Cup on Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Playing his first game this conference after being sidelined for three games by a swollen right Achilles heel, Castro picked up from where he left off in the Texters' title run in the Commissioner's Cup by firing 19 points, grabbing five rebounds and issuing five assists.
His return propped up the spirit of the Tropang Texters, who secured their third win in four games to tie idle Alaska and KIA for second spot. KIA earlier survived a fighting Blackwater squad, 83-76 in double overtime.
NLEX, on the other hand, fell to 1-4 in a tie with Blackwater at the bottom of the standings.
“We have a complete roster now. It’s harder, but it’s easier. Harder to to give minutes, but maybe that’s a better problem than yung kulang-kulang so you can have other points of attack,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico.
The Tropang Texters’ depth was evident throughout the game as seen from their huge 58-7 advantage in bench scoring.
Although the tournament is just halfway through the single-round eliminations, Uichico said it is important to pile up as many wins as they can in order to ensure a spot in the top four heading to the playoffs.
The top four teams at the end of the eliminations will get a twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs.
“Of course, you like to gather wins as much as you can, but it’s still too early to say. So these next few games will be very important for us,” he added.
Steffphon Pettigrew led the Tropang Texters with 26 points and seven rebounds, Ranidel de Ocampo added 12 while Jordanian import Sam Daghles finished with a near double-double of 10 points and eight boards.
Asi Taulava led the Road Warriors with a personal conference-high 25 points and 13 rebounds, while imports Kwame Alexander and Michel Madanly added 22 apiece.
Madanly though failed to finish the game after suffering from leg cramps starting in the middle of the last quarter.
Talk N Text 108 - Pettigrew 26, Castro 19, De Ocampo 12, Williams 11, Daghles 10, Rosser 10, Fonacier 8, Carey 6, Seigle 6, Washington 0Miller 0, Espiritu 0, Reyes 0.
NLEX 89 - Taulava 25, Alexander 22, Madanly 22, Villanueva 10, E. Villanueva 4, Borboran 3, Wolson 3, Cardona 0, Canaleta 0, Lingganay 0, Ramos 0, Apinan 0.
Quarterscores: 27-18; 57-44; 80-70; 108-89.