TALK ‘N Text again dug deep into its rich championship experience in the stretch to pull off a huge 89-81 victory over Rain or Shine and take a momentum-building 2-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena Friday night.
Big man Ranidel de Ocampo rose to the occasion in the second half when he banged 14 of his game-high 24 points, including a crucial 12-footer with under a minute left that settled the outcome of Game 2 of the Finals.
“I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but tonight was another good defensive effort for us. We played good defensively. I think that’s what we’re gonna have to do to win the series,” Black said as his team moved within two wins of completing a hat-trick in the All-Filipino conference.
While Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao made good his promise to let his boys push the ball at every given opportunity, the Tropang Texters were quick to counter it by immediately going back to defense.
Rain or Shine held a 13-4 fastbreak edge, but just like in Game 1, the Elasto Painters again shot poorly from the field.
The reigning Governors Cup champion shot just 35.5 percent (27-of-76) from the field as it continues to struggle against the relentless Tropang Texters defense.
And while Guiao intends to wear their opponents through their patented running game, Black believes they have enough firepower to keep up with the Elasto Painters.
“I expect them to keep coming at us. I know they will come out with a lot of energy (in Game Three). I’m sure that’s what they will do. The question is will we run out of gas? I don’t think we will,” added Black.
Black also had some nice words for De Ocampo who stood his ground battling Rain or Shine’s dreaded tough frontline.
“Ranidel is our best post-up player and best three-point shooter. He’s one of our best big men along with Kelly Williams. He’s been doing it the entire year. And that’s not only in his performance on the court but also in his leadership in the team,” said Black.
“He likes to play it physical, and again, he just made some big shots down the stretch.”
Going by the numbers, history appeared not to be on Rain or Shine’s side.
So far 33 of the 39 teams that won the first two games of a Finals series went on to win the championship.
Talk `N Text (89) -- De Ocampo 24, Castro 21, Williams 12, Fonacier 7, Dillinger 6, Aban 6, Reyes 4, Carey 4, Alapag 3, Peek 2, Raymundo 0, Ferriols 0.
Rain or Shine (81) -- Quinahan 16, Lee 15, Cruz 12, Norwood 9, Chan 9, Arana 9, Matias 4, Belga 3, Rodriguez 2, Ibanes 2, Tiu 0, Tang 0.
Quarterscores: 23-15; 44-35; 63-63; 89-81.