The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters put a serious dent in the San Miguel Beermen’s playoff campaign after subjecting their old rivals to a massive second half collapse en route to a 113-93 victory, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The first half opened to an all-TNT show. The Tropang Texters found success everywhere around the arc and forced the Beermen to misfire, building a 14-4 lead in the first few minutes and later leading by a staggering 26-9. Regardless, the Philippine Cup champions were unfazed by the growing deficit, and responded with a 14-0 run sparked by import Arizona Reid and big baskets from their gunners. Two minutes left in the quarter, and the Beermen were only down by three, 23-26. A basket from Reid just before the buzzer cut the lead to one to end the quarter, 28-27 for Talk ‘n Text.
Arwind Santos welcomed the second quarter with a jumper that gave San Miguel the lead, 29-27. The ensuing shootout between the two old foes saw deadlocks and lead changes come play. With around four minutes left to play, the Tropang Texters exploited what appeared to be a burnt out San Miguel and pull away for a six point lead, 50-44. The Beermen were able to recover and cut the lead to three in the final minute, but a last second barrage from Larry Fonacier and import Ivan Johnson extended the lead to eight in time for the halftime break, 56-48.
The Beermen however lost the previous quarter’s fire, and with the Talk ‘N Text frontcourt firing at will, the lead blew to fifteen, 71-56, after less than five minutes of play. The Tropang Texters’ oncourt salvo came to a sudden halt when halfway through the quarter, the game was paused to allow Beerman Arwind Santos’ mother, who was seated courtside, to receive treatment from medical staff after what appeared to be a severe nosebleed. She was immediately stretchered out of the venue.The score was 76-58 in favor of Talk ‘N Text when the incident happened. Even after playing for a while without Jason Castro, who had to be treated on the sidelines after he started limping after a play, the Tropang Texters led by as many as 28 points in the remainder of the quarter. At the end of the third, Talk ‘N Text led by a staggering 88-62. Santos later left the venue in the middle of the fourth quarter to see to his mother’s condition.
Arizona Reid tried to spark the Beermen to life at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Tropang Texters needed only to sink a couple more baskets, in response to slowing down what could have been San Miguel’s much-needed run. Locals June Mar Fajardo, Chris Lutz, and Alex Cabagnot tried to put some life in the Beermen’s campaign, sinking a series of big baskets to cut the lead to nineteen with four minutes left to play, 85-104. Whatever run San Miguel was hoping to produce was extinguished by triples from Ranidel de Ocampo and Ivan Johnson. At the buzzer, the Tropang Texters exited with the win in tow.
Ivan Johnson had 41 points and 19 rebounds to lead Talk ‘N Text. Arizona Reid had 32 for the Beermen, who shot a dismal 38.4% from the field. Talk ‘N Text joins Purefoods at the top of the standings at 7-3. San Miguel meanwhile slides to 3-7. The Beermen need to win in their final assignment of the elimination round, and hope to have a superior quotient among tied teams in order to book a playoff spot.
TNT: Johnson 41, Ganuelas-Rosser 22, de Ocampo 17, Fonacier 12, Alas 8, Castro 7, Seigle 3, Aban 2, Labagala 1
SMB: Reid 32, Fajardo 20, Lassiter 12, Santos 7, Kramer 7, Cabagnot 6, Lutz 5, Ross 2, Reyes 2
Quarters: 28-27, 56-48, 88-62, 113-93