BINAN, Laguna – Talk `N Text survived Blackwater’s upset bid on Sunday, 88-78, for a share of the early lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at the Alonte Sports Arena here.
Import Richard Howell sparked the Tropang Texters’ fourth quarter rampage, scoring 19 of his game-high 29 points in that stretch when they outscored the Elite, 28-12.
The Talk `N Text import had 17 of the team’s game-turning 24-5 run in the pivotal fourth that turned a 60-66 deficit into an 84-71 lead with five minutes left in the game.
Howell added 21 rebounds in the Tropang Texters’ second straight win that gave them a piece of the top spot with the Meralco Bolts.
The loss extended Blackwater’s losing woes in the league.
Counting the Elite’s winless stint in the season-opening Philippine Cup, they are now 0-13 in their maiden season in the PBA, including 0-2 in the tournament.
The setback also spoiled Marcus Douthit’s debut as Blackwater import. The Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player had 14 points, 17 rebounds, and four block shots in his capacity as temporary replacement for the injured Chris Charles.
With Douthit taking charge, the Elite appeared poise of finally clinching their first ever win after taking a 66-60 lead with them at the end of the third quarter.
But the celebration was short-lived as Howell got going in the final period to give the Tropang Texters the momentum they badly needed.
Jason Castro was the lone local to finish in double figures for Talk `N Text with 22 points.
Bryan Faundo led all Blackwater scorers with 19 points, including back-to-back baskets in the 2:54 mark that cut Talk ‘N Text’s lead to 84-78.
It proved to be the Elite’s final stand
Talk `N Text (88) -- Howell 29, Castro 22, Washington 8, Alas 8, Miller 8, De Ocampo 7, Carey 2, Williams 2, Aban 2, Labagala 0, Fonacier 0, Espiritu 0, Reyes 0.
Blackwater (78) -- Faundo 19, Douthit 14, Acuna 12, Heruela 10, Celiz 7, Timberlake 5, Gamalinda 5, Reyes 4, Erram 2, Austria 0, Laure 0, Ballesteros 0, Bulawan 0, Ciriacruz 0.
Quarterscores: 19-17; 41-39; 60-66; 88-78.