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Talk ‘N Text blocks NLEX, sets up knockout date with Rain or Shine

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Working through another adversity-filled match, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters squeaked past a determined NLEX Road Warriors side, 90-88, to advance in the PBA Philippine Cup Quarterfinals earlier today at the Mall Of Asia Arena.

The Road Warriors quelled an early TnT run to take the upper hand early. After scoring the first seven points of the game, the Texters’ offense froze, allowing NLEX to rattle off 11 unanswered points. The Road Warriors ended the first quarter with a 21-11 lead.

Veteran Danny Seigle hopped off the bench in the second quarter to power the Talk ‘N Text offense. The Demolition Man wreaked havoc in the paint, scoring off putbacks and smart cuts for eight second quarter markers. His breakaway layup brought the NLEX lead down to two, 29-31, but Mac Cardona immediately answered with a transition trifecta to keep NLEX ahead, 29-34. After a three-minute offensive drought, TnT’s Ryan Reyes drained two jumpers in the dying moments of the half, that knotted the game at 39.

The sister teams continued to trade blows in the third quarter. NLEX’s first round pick, Glen Khobuntin provided offense offense off the bench, scoring eight third quarter points. Talk ‘N Text continued to get production from the sweet shooting Reyes and second overall pick in this year’s draft, Troy Rosario. Tied at 61 in the last minute of the quarter, NLEX rookie Garvo Lanete drained back-to-back triples to push his team to a 67-61 lead heading into the fourth period.

With foul troubles hampering him all-game, Jayson Castro finally got a chance to lead his team in the payoff period. After incurring a technical foul for gamely challenging a referee’s call, Asia’s best point guard, Castro worked the two-man game with Rosario perfectly, finding the power forward for back-to-back layups that forced a 68-all tie. Baskets from Taulava and Anthony kept NLEX up midway through the fourth, 76-73, but the revitalized Seigle supplied clutch baskets, scoring off putback following a Castro triple to give the Tropang Texters the lead permanently, 85-80. Seigle found Rosario open in the wing for another triple then was gifted a basket off an offensive rebound for a 90-84 lead with less the two minutes remaining. After a timeout, Kevin Alas completed an and-1 play, 90-87, keeping NLEX’s hopes alive. After Castro uncharacteristically missed two free throws, NLEX had multiple chances to tie the game. Anthony split charities, leaving 30 ticks on the game clock. 90-88. The Road Warriors then got a successful stop but had just two seconds remaining for a game-tying play, which Anthony somehow managed to turn into an open jump shot. But the energetic forward shot just a few inches of forcing overtime.

Player of the game Troy Rosario admitted that he was excited to face Sean Anthony in this game that led to a slow start for him. “Sa tingin ko meron kasi wala talaga rhythm ko nung first half,” Rosario said. “Nahanap ko naman ng second half.”

Rosario had an efficient outing in scoring 20 points on 50% shooting from the field and 70% shooting from the charity stripe. He was also able to grab six boards, three coming from the offensive end.

The move to give heavy minutes to Rosario, Danny Seigle, Ryan Reyes, and Harvey Carey was a calculated move also according to TNT head coach Jong Uichico. “Wala namang concern, it’s just like we were not executing well in the first half. At least we found our groove in the second half. I decided to stick with Troy, Danny, and Harvey,” Uichico admitted. “The more we can rest, it ‘s just going to be better for us.”

Besides Rosario, grizzled veteran Danny Seigle also had a spectacular outing scoring 17 points. He was 6/9 from the field and added five points from the foul line. He also grabbed seven boards in the win.

For the Road Warriors, Asi Taulava again led the team with 22 points and eight boards. Tournament revelation Sean Anthony finished his Philippine Cup campaign with a double-double in scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

As a team, both teams were excellent from the field with TNT shooting 50% while NLEX shot an outstanding 54%. However, the Tropang Texters were able to outrebound NLEX 54-38 and knock down eight triples compared to just six by their opponents. In addition, TNT’s bench scored 38 points against just the 22 bench points of NLEX.

Looking forward to their match-up against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Rosario said that they need to work on their rebounding since their opponents are one of the top rebounding teams in the league. “Alam naman natin yung ROS hindi basta basta. Kelangan namin talaga yung rebounding kasi di kami kalakasan dun. Kelangan namin pagtrabahuan talaga yung rebounding,” the rookie emphasized.

The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters will face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the final phase of the quarterfinals on Monday, December 28 at 7:00pm. Game will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:
Talk ‘N Text (90) – Rosario 20, Seigle 17, Reyes R. 12, Fonacier 10, Castro 10, Williams 9, Tautuaa 3, Miranda 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Carey 2, Aban 2, Reyes J. 0.
NLEX (88) – Taulava 22, Anthony 17, Villanueva J. 13, Lanete 9, Khobuntin 7, Alas 7, Borboran 7, Cardona 5, Enciso 1, Villanueva E. 0, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 11-21, 36-36, 61-67, 90-88.

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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