TALK ‘N Text detonated five three-pointers in the endgame to pull off a 111-107 Game Three victory over Purefoods Star and move a win away from a place in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jayson Castro banged in a team-high 27 points, hitting the last of his eight three-pointers with 1:16 to go to give the Tropang Texters a 111-103 lead that proved enough buffer to hold off the Hotshots’ late-game rally.
Castro also dished off four of his 10 assists in the final quarter, including two to set up import Ivan Johnson and Ranidel de Ocampo for three-pointers that allowed Talk 'N Text to pull away in the endgame.
“Jayson is Jayson. If he doesn’t score points naman, he’s involved in assists. He has developed that game and he creates for his open teammates,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico.
With a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, the flagship franchise of the MVP group can arrange a finals face-off with Rain or Shine with another win in Game Four on Saturday.
The Hotshots, who took the series-opener, 100-94, pulled within four and could have drawn even closer, but import Denzel Bowles was caught stepping on the sideline after being double-teamed by Johnson and Larry Fonacier.
The 28-year-old Castro made his last seven three-point shots to tie for third in the all-time record for consecutive three-point field goals made in a game, according to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Johnson, who battled foul trouble in the second half, exploded for 26 points, including 11 in last quarter. The former Atlanta Hawks forward added 14 rebounds and four assists.
Aron Aban came off the bench to score 17, while De Ocampo chipped in 14.
Bowles led the Hotshots with 39 points and 13 rebounds, while Peter June Simon added 18.