When it rains, it pours.
The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters grab a 2-1 series lead over the Purefoods Star Hotshots thanks to their sizzling shooting from downtown as they escape with a 111-107 victory to be a win away from entering the Finals held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Offense came fast for both squads from the opening tip as multiple lead changes were showcased. Six minutes into the game, the score was tied at 15-all with Talk ‘N Text burying four of their first five shots while Purefoods’ starters all entering the scoring column. Fielded in early, Aaron Aban and Kevin Alas provided instant offense off the bench as they combined for three triples quick for TNT. On the other hand, Mark Barroca fell during a rebound battle but managed to continue playing the opening period.
The subs continued to play splendid offensively with Jason Castro and PJ Simon exchanging last possession baskets for their respective teams while the Star Hotshots grabbing a one-point edge after the first 12 minutes.
In the second period, the scoring spree for both teams continued with now the imports spearheading the offense. Denzel Bowles started to make his mid-ranged jumpers and pose his will in the interiors as he ended up with 20 points in the opening half. No team led by more than three in the first half while the Texters already had three players with double figures led by Castro’s 18.
Four minutes into the still tightly-contested affair in the third canto, Ivan Johnson picked up his fourth personal foul which sent him early to the bench. The Texters would respond however, as they built a 75-69 edge with a triple coming from Ranidel De Ocampo and a smooth bank shot from Kelly Williams. Purefoods had a hard time capitalizing in the absence of the TNT reinforcement as the Star Hotshots missed their free throws and perimeter jumpers.
Purefoods also gambled with Bowles inserted in their lineup while also notching his fourth foul during the period. However, TNT’s locals proved to be too much with Castro draining an off-the-glass triple as the third quarter time expired to enter the last period up by nine, the largest of the game.
A quick start to the fourth for Purefoods made the ball game close anew as Simon converted a triple while Bowles scoring underneath made Talk ‘N Text call a ceasefire. Coming to aide once again for TNT was their hot shooting from downtown as Castro and De Ocampo punched in to reinstall a 10-point separation with five minutes to go.
PJ Simon made back to back floaters to help Purefoods save some points and avoid being pounded late. In the dying moments, Castro pulled off another triple which seemingly appeared to be the dagger to extend the lead, 111-103. After a stop, Joe Devance stole the ball from Johnson and scored on a gimme, while Bowles drained in a baseline jumper to slice it down to four with 38 ticks left. After making a stop, Bowles made a crucial turnover by stepping on the sidelines that sealed the game for TNT.
In the high-scoring affair, TNT made 19 out of 32 triples for a 59.4% clip compared to Purefoods’ 4 out of 12. In addition, the Tropang Texters had more assists, 22-15.
Jason Castro was a man on a mission as he ended up with 27 points, including 8/9 from rainbow territory. To top off his scintillating shooting, he had 10 assists in the outing.
Game 4 of the series will be on Saturday, 5pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Talk ‘N Text (111) – Castro 27, Johnson 26, Aban 17, De Ocampo 14, Washington 10, Alas 9, Williams 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Fonacier 0
Purefoods (107) – Bowles 39, Simon 18, Yap 11, Pingris 10, Devance 9, Barroca 8, Reavis 4, Maliksi 4, Mallari 4,
Quarters: 32-33, 63-60, 89-80, 111-107
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