TALK ‘N Text picked up from where it left off last conference as it hacked out a 95-91 victory over Barangay Ginebra for a rousing PBA Governors’ Cup debut on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Coming off their Commissioner’s Cup conquest less than two weeks ago, the Tropang Texters passed the first test in their back-to-back championship bid after banking on a late run that weathered a comeback by the Gin Kings in a battle of shorthanded squads.
Steffphon Pettigrew picked up the slack for a team without injured standouts Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Kevin Alas, and Aaron Aban as the import tallied 33 points for the Texters, who found significant contribution from Danny Seigle with 14 markers.
Sam Daghles handled the playmaking chores with aplomb as the Jordanian guard tallied 12 points, six assists, and three boards in 35 minutes.
Ginebra import Orlando Johnson flirted with the 50-point barrier anew by pumping in 46 this time to keep carrying the brunt of the load without twin towers Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.
The former NBA player, however, found little support as Sol Mercado and LA Tenorio were the only other two players who scored in double figures for Ginebra, which dropped a second straight match.
“We just caught Ginebra in a getting-to-to-know stage,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said, referring to the Kings, who are in a transition with new coach Frankie Lim.
For a while, though, the Kings looked poised to register in the win column after an opening loss to Alaska as they went ahead, 84-83, after a layup by Johnson with a little less than seven minutes left in the game.
But the Texters, showing their championship poise, retaliated with 11 unanswered points coming from Pettigrew, Seigle, and Daghles that gave them enough cushion to survive a late scare by the never-say-die Kings.
Josh Urbiztondo scored five straight points—a three-pointer and two free throws—that trimmed the gap to 94-91 with 21.3 seconds to go in a rally that fell short.
TNT 95 – Pettigrew 33, Seigle 14, Rosser 13, Daghles 12, Washington 7, Fonacier 6, Carey 5, Miller 5, Williams 0
GIN 91 – Johnson 46, Mercado 13, Tenorio 10, Caguioa 6, Urbiztondo 5, Marcelo 4, Brondial 4, Baracael 3, Pena 0, Helterbrand 0
Quarterscores: 27-22, 53-48, 72-71, 95-91