TALK ‘N Text stayed in the running for a PBA Governors’ Cup Finals berth after it turned back Rain or Shine, 98-90, on Monday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Determined to live for another day, the Texters came out with their guns blazing before warding off a huge second-half comeback by the Painters on the way to their third straight win in the semifinals of the season-ending conference.
The victory tied the Texters with Barangay Ginebra at 8-5. The two teams face each other on Wednesday with the winner gaining a playoff for the second finals slot through the 4-of-5 semis incentive.
“We just bought us a little bit more time,” Texters coach Chot Reyes said.
Paul Harris spearheaded the Texters’ attack as the 6-foot-4 import came through with huge numbers of 34 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and two block shots.
Ali Peek and Kelly Williams, who scored just six points apiece, shone on defense as the Filipino-American forwards took turns in defending Painters import Jamelle Cornley.
“Were just finding ways to win without some of our key guys,” said Reyes, who’s still missing the services of top defenders Harvey Carey and Jared Dilinger.
Cornley, who still led the Painters with 27 points and 10 boards, capped the Painters’ comeback from a 62-44 deficit in the third with a thunderous slam that tied the game at 77 with exactly a minute remaining in the quarter.
But the import committed a crucial turnover late in the fourth that led to the downfall of the Painters, whose entry to the finals was derailed for the third straight game.
The Painters have one last chance to clinch the championship round outright when they take on B-Meg also on Wednesday.
The loser of that match will face the winner between Talk ‘N Text and Ginebra on Friday for the second finals slot.
TALK ‘N TEXT 98 - Harris 34, De Ocampo 17, Alapag 10, Fonacier 9, Castro 8, Williams 6, Peek 6, Aguilar 5, Aban 3, Raymundo 0, Reyes 0
RAIN OR SHINE 90 - Cornley 27, Chan 15, Quinahan 14, Lee 13, Belga 11, Norwood 6, Buenafe 4, Matias 0, Tang 0, Arana 0, Ibanes 0
Quarterscores: 30-21, 57-44, 80-79, 98-90