Ranidel de Ocampo sustained his red-hot shooting, Ivan Johnson contributed as much while Jayson Castro turned to be more of a facilitator as Talk n Text made it two in a row over Rain or Shine, 103-94, and inched closer to reclaiming the PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.
Larry Fonacier put in significant help in the first half while rookie Kevin Alas made his presence felt in the payoff period as the Tropang Texters followed up their 99-92 win in Game Four to gain the crucial 3-2 lead in the race-to-four-games series.
The Tropang Texters try to close out the series in Game Six on Sunday or, if necessary, in Game Seven on Wednesday.
“Hindi pa tapos. Alam natin kailangang apat na panalo at alam natin na laging todo laro ang Rain or Shine. Kung ano ang attitude namin ngayon, dapat ganon pa rin sa Sunday,” said TNT coach Jong Uichico.
“We don’t want the momentum to shift back to Rain or Shine. Dapat i-control pa rin namin ang dapat i-control especially our attitude towards the game,” Uichico added.
After recovering from an early 10-point deficit, the Texters built a lead as big as 20 in the third quarter and stayed safely ahead all the way to the finish.
Talk n Text thoroughly outplayed Rain or Shine even with Wayne Chism back playing his usual minutes – thanks in large part on the efforts of De Ocampo, Johnson and Castro.
De Ocampo and Johnson fired 27 points apiece while Castro churned out 15 markers, nine assists, three steals and two rebounds.
“Pagsabay-sabay pumutok yong tatlo, talagang wala kaming chance manalo,” rued ROS coach Yeng Guiao.
The E-Painters actually started stronger, but the Texters quickly made the needed adjustments, racing to a 56-42 lead at the half, stretching the margin to 20, 67-47, in the third and keeping leads of no less than five to the finish.
Rain or Shine drew to within five at 94-99 with time down to 1:06.
“(A major factor was) our defense holding up in the first three quarters. Fourth quarter, medyo humabol sila. Buti na lang may lead kami. They made a run at kinulang sila sa oras,” said Uichico.
“The players are finding a way to win. Everything is out in the open na. Wala nang major adjustments. It’s really just the players finding a way to win,” Uichico also said.
Fonacier was a fourth TNT player to hit double figures with 12 while Alas had big contribution with two crucial baskets and an assist in the final canto.
Alas, a former Gilas cadet player, delivered the nail on ROS’ coffin on a tear drop shot making it 101-94 with 42 ticks left.
Chism blew hot and cold in producing 25 points and 17 rebounds, two nights after being limited to 27 minutes of playing time due to four quick fouls.
Johnson, De Ocampo and Fonacier scored at least 10 points each while the TNT bench matched the ROS reserves’ score, 13-13, in the first 24 minutes of the game.
Curiously, the ROS second group outscored its Talk n Text counterparts by an average of 31.2 points in the series’ first four games. (SB)
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