TALK `N Text held Petron to just single field goal in the final four minutes to pull off a 96-86 victory and clinch a semifinals berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Texters again relied on locals Jason Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo and Jimmy Alapag down the stretch to oust the Boosters and complete a two-game sweep of the best-of-three quarterfinals playoffs.
The semis stint is the ninth straight conference the telecommunication franchise will be in the Final Four.
“Once again, you have to give a lot of credit to our local players. They really stepped up when Jerome Jordan was in foul trouble,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black, whose team faces the winner of the
Rain or Shine-Barangay Ginebra rubber match on Monday.
“Our defense was better in this game. We started to improve a lot. The focus is there while the nice thing is, a lot of my players have the experience,” he added.
The 7-foot Jordan again found himself in early foul trouble just like in the series opener.
But he managed to make his presence felt in the pivotal fourth when he scored six points and pulled down two crucial rebounds just as Petron was starting to miss its shots from the outside.
“Jerome gave us some good production in the end. He got some rebounds that now, gives us a chance to play in the semifinals,” noted Black, who steered the Tropang Texters to the Philippine Cup title a few months back.
The Boosters practically shot themselves on the foot by missing their last seven attempts in the game, while turning the ball over three times.
The Tropang Texters were quick to capitalize as Reyes scored four of the team’s last six points to seal the series.
De Ocampo led Talk ‘N Text with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Castro, Alapag, and Reyes had 16, 14 and 12, respectively.
Marcio Lassiter led Petron with 23 points in a losing cause, while import Henry Sims chipped in 17 and 11 rebounds in another disappointing playoff exit for the Boosters.
Talk ‘N Text (96) -- De Ocampo 17, Castro 16, Reyes 14, Alapag 12, Jordan 11, Dillinger 8, Al-Hussaini 7, Peek 7, Foncier 4, Aban 0, Ferriols 0.
Petron (86) -- Lassiter 23, Sims 17, Fajardo 15, Santos 15, Miranda 10, Cabagnot 4, Washington 2, Lutz 0, Tubid 0, Pena 0
Quarterscores: 28-32; 52-56; 73-74; 96-86.