TALK ‘N Text held defending champion Purefoods Star to one field goal inside the last eight minutes to hack out a 92-77 win and level the PBA Commissioner’s Cup series at one game apiece on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jayson Castro and rookie Kevin Alas combined for 20 of Talk 'N Text's 34 points in the fourth quarter while Ivan Johnson finally found a way to silence the guns of Purefoods import Denzel Bowles, leading to the decisive win.
Alas scored eight successive points behind two three-pointers when the Tropang Texters pulled away for good in a highly physical game marked by skirmishes involving Allein Maliksi, Matt Ganuelas Rosser, Marc Pingris and Johnson.
The best-of-five series is now down to a race-to-two-wins affair.
“Emotions are really high especially in this series. It’s (heated moments among players) gonna happen because teams will try to find ways to win games,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico.
Uichico commended temperamental import Johnson for the defensive effort against Bowles, who he held to just two free throws in the final period after he scored 33 through the first three quarters.
“All he (Johnson) can do is just do a decent job on him (Bowles) because Denzel’s really good. He scored 23 points in the first half alone,” Uichico added.
Purefoods wingman Maliksi was slapped with a flagrant foul penalty 1 late in the third quarter for hitting Talk ’N Text rookie Rosser in the face as both got entangled during a rebound play.
Castro led the Tropang Texters with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Johnson finished with 16 points, 20 boards and five steals.
James Yap chipped in 15 for Purefoods while Simon added 10 - the only other double-figure scorers for the team.
Talk 'N Text 93 - Castro 21, Johnson 16, De Ocampo 14, Washington 12, Alas 12, Fonacier 10, Carey 2, Williams 2, Rosser 2, Aban 2.
Purefoods 77 - Bowles 35, Yap 15, Simon 10, Pennisi 5, Maliksi 3, Devance 3, Reavis 2, Mallari 2, Barroca 2, Melton 0, Pingris 0.
Quarterscores: 21-13, 40-34, 59-57, 93-77