Powered by hot shooting from Jay Washington, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters finally put an end to the San Miguel Beermen’s winning run, bagging a crucial 107-101 victory, Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Powered by a 10 point first quarter performance from reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, the Beermen paced the game from tip-off, but could not pull away from the feisty and trigger-happy Talk ‘N Text. They closed out the first quarter with a 28-23 edge. The Beermen opened the second quarter with a 10-2 run to build their first double digit lead of the ballgame, 38-25, two minutes into the period. The Tropang Texters managed to respond in kind, trimming the San Miguel cushion to a single point, 44-45 with only 2:38 left on the clock, but an eight point explosion from Jeric Fortuna capped by back-to-back triples doused the flames. The Beermen held on to the lead at the end of the quarter, 55-48.
The lead ballooned to as many as 11 points early in the third quarter, but a 15-2 rally bolstered by San Miguel turnovers saw the Tropang Texters overtake with six minutes left on the clock, 65-64. But the Beermen responded in kind, completing an 8-0 flurry to push the lead to by eight, 73-65, two minutes later. The Tropang Texters however once again came within striking distance by the end of the quarter, and at the end of another twelve minutes, San Miguel led by a single point, 77-76.
Spurred by big baskets from veteran and former San Miguel fan favorite Danny Seigle and hot shooting from rookie Kevin Alas, the Tropang Texters led by as many as seven points, 86-79, to start the fourth quarter. Another shootout followed soon after, and both squads spent the next few minutes trading baskets and exchanging leads.
The score remained tied at 96 all with less than two minutes in regulation, but the Tropang Texters kicked things into overdrive, sparking a 7-0 rally capped by a triple from Jay Washington to take a 103-96 lead with 1:15 left to play. San Miguel’s Fortuna managed to put an end to the run other the other end, sinking a lay-up to bring San Miguel to 98-103 with less than a minute on the clock.
The Beermen forced the Tropang Texters to a shot clock violation in the next play, getting possession of the ball with 40 ticks left on the clock, but could not pull through in the following play.
Two free-throw opportunities from Ryan Reyes widened the gap for the Tropang Texters, 105-98, with 28.8 seconds left. Fortuna gave the Beermen a lease on life, sinking a breakaway triple with less than 20 seconds to go. The Tropang Texters sunk a couple more free-throws to pad the lead and suppress any chance of San Miguel making a drive in the dying seconds of the game.
Jay Washington led the Tropang Texters with 19 points and 5 rebounds. Chris Lutz led the Beermen with 25 points.
The Tropang Texters improve to 7-3, giving their bid for a top two finish a lease on life. The Beermen slide to 8-2 in the standings, a record shared with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Another victory for the San Miguel will seal their place in the top two, booking them their automatic semifinals ticket.