IVAN Johnson led a blistering first-half offensive as second seed Talk 'N Text destroyed Barako Bull, 127-97, to advance to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With Talk 'N Text needing to win just once to advance to the Final Four, the 6-foot-7 Johnson made sure the Texters needed just one game to do it, dropping 30 of his 35 points in the first two quarters to help open a 69-38 bubble.
The former Atlanta Hawks forward knocked down five three-pointers during that stretch, combining with combo guard Jayson Castro to set the tone for the most one-sided PBA game to be played at the MOA Arena.
Castro poured in all 18 of his points in the first half while going a perfect 7-of-7 from the field during that stretch.
The Energy showed little resistance in the second half as they were eliminated by the Tropang Texters in the conference quarterfinals for the third successive time.
“Maganda shooting namin ngayon kaya medyo lumaki ang lamang,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico.
“But you always expect your players will play hard. That’s what you expect. Basta magtrabaho lang ang mga players because they know how important the game is.”
The Texters finished the game shooting 54 percent from the field while holding the Energy to just 41 percent.
Uichico’s squad also buried 17 three-pointers, just one short its season-high mark of 18 which the Texters made in the team’s 122-106 demolition of the Energy in the Philippine Cup.
Ranidel de Ocampo added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Texters, who will take on the winner of the Purefoods vs Alaska quarterfinal series. The Hotshots opened their series with a 122-86 rout of the Aces on Friday.
Solomon Alabi led the Energy with 23 points, 17 rebounds and four assists. JC Intal added 22.