TALK ‘N Text leaned on a strong finish kick by import Ivan Johnson as it repulsed Globalport, 96-88, on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to gain the solo lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The former Atlanta Hawk spearheaded the final push, firing 11 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, where the Tropang Texters maintained a safe cushion on the way to atoning for a shock loss to expansion team Kia last time.
The Texters thus notched their sixth win in eight games to break out of a three-team logjam on top of the standings, while snapping the Batang Pier’s two-game winning streak that dropped them to an even 4-4 win-loss card.
“It was a good comeback win for us,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said. “They came in really focused. I thought that we did a really good job defensively which translated somehow to our offense.”
The Texters’ stingy defense was most evident on Terrence Romeo, the Batang Pier’s rising star who was held to just two points in the second half after firing 18 in the first two quarters.
The young playmaker still outplayed veteran counterpart Jayson Castro, who was limited to just five points in 30 minutes, although the latter had the last laugh thanks to a solid support crew.
Johnson, who put up a complete effort by hauling 20 rebounds along with three steals, two assists, scored eight points in the last four minutes, including three on an and-1 play that gave the Texters a 93-83 lead with less than three minutes left.
Frontline partner Ranidel de Ocampo also waxed hot from long distance as he buried six triples en route to scoring 25 points on top of five boards and three assists.
Calvin Warner, the undersized Globalport import, continued his monster rebounding, grabbing 27 caroms, while scoring 19 points in a losing effort.
TALK N' TEXT 96 – Johnson 35, De Ocampo 25, Rosser 13, Fonacier 8, Castro 5, Washington 4, Carey 4, Alas 2, Reyes R.J. 0, Seigle 0, Aban 0
GLOBALPORT 88 – Romeo 20, Warner 19, Pringle 16, Jensen 10, Semerad 8, Miranda 4, Buenafe 4, Isip 4, Ponferrada 3, Caperal 0, Pinto 0, Nabong 0, Taha 0
Quarterscores: 24-24, 49-46, 74-69, 96-88