TALK ‘N Text rode on a whirlwind second-quarter offensive then held off Rain or Shine’s last-ditch rally in the endgame to hammer out a 103-94 victory, moving within a win of capturing the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
By seizing a 3-2 series advantage, the Tropang Texters can wrap up their seventh PBA championship - and their first since the 2013 Philippine Cup - with a victory on Sunday, also at the Big Dome.
Ranidel de Ocampo again stood at the forefront of Talk ‘N Text’s offensive after finishing with 27 points. The Gilas Pilipinas mainstay was at his best in the second half, knocking down an assortment of jumpers, drives and putbacks to lead the Tropang Texters to a 67-47 spread.
De Ocampo got plenty of support from import Ivan Johnson, who scored 27 points including three three-pointers in the second half, and Best Player of the Conference Jayson Castro who flirted with a double-double by adding 15 points and a personal Finals-high nine assists.
Castro’s ninth assist was a last-second drop off to Johnson, who scored an easy undergoal stab to give Talk ‘N Text a 99-90 cushion with 1:47 to go.
Paul Lee led Rain or Shine’s last-gasp rally after scoring his team’s next five points, but the Elasto Painters simply ran out of time and ammunition.
“In our first three quarters, nag-hold up yung depensa namin. Then towards the fourth quarter, medyo nakahabol sila (Elasto Painters). Mabuti may lead kami when they made that run dahil kulang na sa oras,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico, who will be eyeing for his ninth PBA title as a coach come Sunday.
Uichico is a win away from joining Virgilio 'Baby' Dalupan, Tommy Manotoc, Norman Black, Chot Reyes and Rain or Shine's Yeng Guiao as the only coaches to win PBA titles with three different teams.
The soft-spoken Talk ‘N Text coach, however, is not getting ahead of himself.
“Hindi pa naman tapos eh. Mabuti nanalo pero alam natin, apat ang kailangan para manalo (ng championship),” said Uichico.
Wayne Chism led Rain or Shine with 25 points and 17 rebounds, while Lee added 19.
Talk 'N Text 103 - De Ocampo 27, Johnson 27, Castro 15, Fonacier 12, Carey 7, Alas 7, Aban 4, Washington 2, Rosser 2, Williams 0.
Rain or Shine 94 - Chism 25, Lee 19, Arana 10, Norwood 9, Teng 6, Cruz Jericho 6, Belga 6, Tiu 5, Cruz Jervy 4, Almazan 4, Uyloan 0, Ibanes 0.
Quarterscores: 27-29, 56-42, 78-64, 103-94