The next stage has been set. Powered by a fiery 23-point performance from Jayson Castro, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters marched to another semifinal appearance via a 83-67 pummelling of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Tuesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Castro, the national team standout who was included in the recently released PBA’s 40 Greatest Players list, had five assists and two steals to go with his 23 points.
The Gin Kings and the Tropang Texters traded baskets for most of the opening minutes of the first quarter, leading to an 8-8 deadlock four minutes into the period. What followed was a 6-0 flurry helmed by Matt Ganuelas-Rosser which saw Talk ‘N Text take a 14-8 lead and take control of the ballgame. The first quarter ended with the Tropang Texters leading 25-22.
A 5-0 rally saw Talk ‘N Text, leading by as many as eight in the first few minutes of the second period, pull away anew. The Gin Kings however responded with a 9-2 spurt capped by a three-point play from Billy Mamaril to come within striking distance, 31-32, with seven minutes left on the clock. Back-to-back baskets from veteran Mark Cagiuoa later gave Ginebra their first taste of the lead, 35-34, approaching the halfway point of the quarter. The second period later ended with the score tied at 40-all, despite an uncanny field goal percentage discrepancy between the two teams, Talk ‘N Text having shot 38.1 % from the field and Ginebra 29.8%.
The second half was welcomed by a trade of treys between Tropang Texter Castro and the Ginebra backcourt of LA Tenorio and Joseph Yeo, leading to a 46-all deadlock in three minutes of play before a pair of free-throws from Castro gave Talk ‘N Text the two-point edge. A 16-4 run kicked off by back-to-back baskets from Rob Reyes gave the Talk ‘N Text the means to ease back into the driver’s seat and lead by as many as 10 points, 64-54, with two minutes left on the clock. The Tropang Texters closed out the quarter with a 65-58 lead.
Powered by the sweet shooting of Castro, Talk ‘N Text held on to the high ground for the earlier half of the fourth period despite a resurgence sparked by the Ginebra backcourt. Talk ‘N Text’s stiffening defense, forcing Ginebra to turnover after turnover and denying them the easy basket inside the paint, bore fruit approaching the final two minutes, giving the Tropang Texters a 78-67 advantage down the stretch. The dagger soon followed in the form of a three-point play from Harvey Carey to push the lead to 81-67, with just a minute and a half left to play. Ginebra was denied any consolation baskets in the final minute.
Ranidel de Ocampo added 17 points to the Talk ‘N Text cause. LA Tenorio led Ginebra with 15 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. The Tropang Texters held the Gin Kings to a dismal 28.9% from the field, and forced them to 15 turnovers throughout the game.