Of the two squads who were a series away from the finals last conference, Talk ‘N Text squeezed an 89-86 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters earlier at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. This is the first game for the Texters without their former captain Jimmy Alapag, who is now their team manager. Willie Miller, another veteran, took over his spot and scored 10 points in just 19 minutes.
Jayson Castro scored 15 points and stole the show with his hang time shot in the endgame that gave the Texters a three-point cushion for good. Richard Howell also made tough shots, scoring seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to go with his 12 rebounds.
Texters steal show
At the beginning of the battle of the heavyweights, both squads exchanged baskets without giving an inch to the other. The opening quarter ended via a leaner three-point shot by Kevin Alas at the buzzer for a slim 23-20 Talk ‘N Text lead. The Texters then bridged the first and second quarters with nine unanswered points to retain the lead.
Rain or Shine uncorked rallies to close out the gap, but another late run by the Texters put Talk ‘N Text ahead by six at the end of the half, 48-42. Rain or Shine import Richard Jackson scored 15 of his 30 points in the first half as Talk ‘N Text counterpart and reigning Commissioner’s Cup Best Import Howell was held to four.
Elasto Painters answer back
Looking to turn the game around, Rain or Shine slowly trimmed the lead of the Texters as they tied the game at 59 apiece with 4:10 remaining in the third. More than just forcing a tie from being six points down, the Elasto Painters grabbed a four-point advantage which they carried into the final quarter.
The two championship-caliber squads battled tooth and nail in the fourth period, exchanging baskets and leads. Rain or Shine had the lead for most of the quarter but the Texters managed to snag the win with their composed play.
32 vs 21 from beyond the arc
Making 6-of-19 from beyond the arc for a 32% clip, the Texters used their outside sniping to outgun the Elasto Painters. Rain or Shine, meanwhile, made only four of their three-pointers while attempting the same number of shots as Talk ‘N Text; they only had a 21% clip from the three point line. However, the Elasto Painters shot better overall thanks to the great perimeter shooting of their import Jackson who made 50% of his shots.
Talk ‘N Text will face the Elite on Sunday in Biñan, Laguna while the Elasto Painters will battle the Road Warriors on February 3 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.