JASON Castro and Ryan Reyes took turns abusing San Mig’s defense in the endgame to carry Talk ‘N Text to a heart-stopping 82-77 victory that forged a winner-take-all match in their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal playoff at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Castro scored seven of his game-high 20 points in the final period while Reyes, hampered by a hamstring injury for much of the season-opening conference, buried back-to-back three-point shots inside the final two minutes to fend off the Mixers’ late-game rally.
The Talk ‘N Text defensive ace's second three-pointer at the 1:12 mark of the final period all but settled the outcome, levelling the best-of-three series at 1-1 and keeping the Texters' hopes for a fourth successive all-Filipino championship alive.
Hastening San Mig’s downfall was Peter June Simon’s two missed shots in the endgame - a short corner jumper that rolled out and a three-point attempt several possessions later that rattled out.
“The biggest difference today was we had two days of practice with KG (Canaleta) and the returning players from sick leave like Ryan Reyes, Noy Baclao and Kelly Williams,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.
Black said with the newly-acquired Canaleta having just one day of practice, along with his three other veterans, the Tropang Texters failed to jell that well prior to the team’s 83-90 loss in Game One.
“The two days of practice helped us a lot today. San Mig is obviously a very, very good defensive team, so we also need to defend them well,” he added.
Talk ‘N Text, which is gunning for a fourth straight Philippine Cup title, turned the ball over 21 times while San Mig had 19 in a defense-oriented game.
San Mig, which is gunning for its sixth straight semifinal stint under coach Tim Cone, was led by Joe Devance with 13 points and six rebounds. Mark Barroca, Simon and center Rafi Reavis added 12 apiece.
The winner-take-all showdown is set on Sunday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Talk 'N Text 82 - Castro 20, Reyes R. 13, Canaleta 13, Seigle 11, De Ocampo 9, Williams 8, Peek 4, Fonacier 2, Carey 2, Aban 0, Baclao 0, Alapag 0.
San Mig 77 - Devance 13, Barroca 12, Simon 12, Reavis 12, Mallari 7, Pingris 6, Melton 6, Yap 5, Sangalang 4, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 19-21, 38-34, 62-52, 82-77