TALK ‘N Text’s rich championship experience came to play when it mattered most as it nosed out Barangay Ginebra, 85-79 to level their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series at one win apiece on Sunday at a packed Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Texters opened the final period with a crippling 12-0 bomb to erase a nine-point Ginebra lead while big man Ranidel de Ocampo buried the back-breaking three-pointer with 33.7 seconds to play to complete a brave fightback before more than 17,000 fans at the Big Dome.
Ginebra guards LA Tenorio and Josh Urbiztondo bungled late three-point attempts as the Texters tightened their defense after getting blown away in the opener of the best-of-five series, 81-104.
“Just really happy we decided to play defense tonight,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black. “It’s (defense) really gonna be the key in the series. They (Gin Kings) are a very good defensive team. You really can’t score a lot of points against them.”
Before de Ocampo's dagger three, Talk 'N Text players aside from Jimmy Alapag were 0-for-22 from three-point land in the series. Alapag is 4-for-13.
Game Three is set on May 8, also at the Big Dome, as the league takes a break for the PBA All-Star week in Digos City, Davao del Sur.
Playing without three key personnel in Ali Peek (knee), Kelly Williams (blood disorder) and Jared Dillinger, who figured in a vehicular accident on Saturday morning, the Tropang Texters struggled for much of the game behind the Gin Kings aggressive outside sniping.
Urbiztondo and veteran guard Jayjay Helterbrand scattered seven triples between them that gave the Gin Kings a 68-59 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
Talk N' Text 85 - Castro 22, Alapag 17, De Ocampo 16, Jordan 14, Carey 6, Al-Hussaini 5, Reyes 4, Aban 1, Raymundo 0, Fonacier 0, Ferriols 0.
Ginebra 79 - Raymundo 17, Macklin 15, Urbiztondo 15, Helterbrand 12, Tenorio 8, Ellis 6, Taha 2, Baracael 2, Maierhofer 2.
Quarters: 22-20, 47-44, 59-68, 85-79