The Kia Carnival are on their first win streak in franchise history, climbing from a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to overtake the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, 106-103, Wednesday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum.
The first half saw a spirited three-point showdown between the two squads in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Kia took an early 11-6 lead, but Talk ‘N Text overtook after big threes from Aaron Aban and Jayson Castro. In the last minute of the quarter, the Tropang Texters were able to go on a 13-4 run that gave them a 33-22 lead. The score was unchanged at the end of the quarter.
Bolstered by five straight points from Aban, the Tropang Texters extended the lead to 17, 39-22, in the opening minutes of the second quarter. It was Karl Dehesa who put an end to Kia’s dry spell, hitting a layup to cut the deficit to 15 with eight minutes left on the clock. Dehesa’s basket ushered in a 9-0 rally that put Kia within eight, 31-39, at the halfway mark of the quarter. Big baskets from JR Buensuceso and PJ Ramos powered Kia to within three, 47-50, with just under a minute left to play. A buzzer-beating trey later by Leo Avenido put the Carnival within one. At halftime, Talk ‘N Text led by a thread, 51-50.
Still hot from the previous quarter’s late run, the Carnival stayed within striking range, and with seven minutes left in the third, back-to-back triples from Hyram Bagatsing gave Kia their first taste of the lead since the opening quarter, 63-62. Bagatsing’s 12 points in the quarter kept Kia- who led by as many as eight- ahead of the race for the remainder of the third period. A late Talk ‘N Text flurry however trimmed the gap to two, 76-78, at the end of the quarter.
The Carnival pulled away once again, going on a 13-6 run that extended the lead to nine, 91-82, in the first four minutes of the final quarter. The Tropang Texters however recovered in time to come as close as four, and stayed within the two-possession range for the following minutes of play. With four minutes left in regulation, TNT import Ivan Johnson and Castro collaborated to give the Tropang Texters back the lead, 96-95, but Kia’s Bagatsing responded on the other end with a trey to hand the Carnival the 98-96 edge.
With just under two minutes left to play, Kia led by two, 100-98. Avenido extended the lead to five, 103-98, with a trey at the 1:45 mark. The Carnival forced the Tropang Texters to miss on the next possession, and Ramos made the best out of the extra possession to extend the lead to seven, 105-98, with little more than a minute remaining.
Baskets from Castro and Larry Fonacier later in the final minute put Talk ‘N Text within three, 103-106, with 30 seconds left on the clock. The next possessions saw a dramatic turn of events: Avenido bricked two free throws, with Reil Cervantes grabbing the rebound to keep possession of the ball for Kia. Cervantes however later missed a trey, and TNT, this time, managed to grab the board and call timeout with ten seconds left on the clock.
The Tropang Texters could not get anything to fall in, and at the buzzer it was Kia who left with the victory. Bagatsing was named Player of the Game with 21 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the three-point line, all off the bench. Import Ramos had 25 points and 24 rebounds. Castro led TNT with 24 points and 6 rebounds. With their second consecutive win, Kia is now at 3-4. Talk ‘N Text meanwhile slides to 5-2.
KIA: Ramos 24, Bagatsing 21, Avenido 16, Pascual 10, Cervantes 10, Buensuceso 10, Dehesa 5, Revilla 5, Cawaling 3, Alvarez 2
TNT: Castro 24, Johnson 21, Fonacier 13, Aban 12, Ganuelas-Rosser 12, De Ocampo 11, Reyes 6, Alas 4
Quarters: 22-33, 50-51, 78-76, 106-103