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Castro drops 33 as TNT nips Star in Lucena

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The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters notched their third straight win in four games to open the season, and join the early 3-1 standing logjam with four other teams as they defeated the Star Hotshots, 91-86, at the Quezon Convention Center, Lucena on Saturday evening.

A high-octane start ensued as the running game of the two teams worked for early offense. TNT maintained a slim lead throughout the first period with balanced scoring from their players. The Texters had a 26-20 lead with two minutes to play, but five straight points by Star – including a three-ball by Justin Melton – sliced the lead to a solitary point.

The reinsertion of Jayson Castro powered the Texters to a 9-2 start in the second quarter as the Gilas guard pierced through the Hotshots’ defense. Despite a couple of inside buckets by Star to chop the lead, two big threes by Castro and Fonacier extended the Texters’ lead to 47-38. In the last five minutes of the first half, cold shooting from the perimeter and turnovers haunted the Hotshots, while Danny Siegle extended TNT’s lead to double digits.

The Hotshots countered with a strong start to the second half and a 7-1 spurt within four minutes. With momentum slowly shifting in their favor, Star used their interior to keep themselves within reach. Marc Pingris made a one-handed jam to rouse the Lucena crowd. Star again responded through Seigle’s and Fonacier’s baskets late in the third as they built another eight point cushion heading into the final frame.

As in the third quarter, Star jumped out with a powerful 11-4 run within the first six minutes to make it a one point game. Afterwards, Castro initiated TNT’s fightback to make it an intensely-fought contest down the stretch. With two minutes left, James Yap made an impressive spin move after a timeout to make it 81-80. However, Castro put the icing on the cake with seven straight points while Mo Tautuaa sealed the deal with a breakaway jam with 30.8 left.

Talk ‘N Text will next face the NLEX Road Warriors on November 20, 7:00pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. For Star, they will contend with the Meralco Bolts, to be played the next day, November 21, at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Scores:
Talk N Text (91) – Castro 33, Fonacier 10, Reyes 9, Rosario 9, Ganuelas-Rosser 9, Tautuaa 8, Carey 4, Seigle 4, Miranda 3, Aban 2.
Star (86) – Melton 25, Pingris 17, Simon 11, Barroca 10, Yap 9, Sangalang 6, Mallari 5, Torres 2, Pascual 1, Taha 0, Maliksi 0.
Quarterscores: 26-25, 52-44, 70-62, 91-86.

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