The Talk ‘n Text Tropang Texters put a halt to the Barako Bull Energy’s hot start in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, outgunning Koy Banal’s previously undefeated squad for an 80-75 victory Friday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum.
Barako Bull welcomed the first quarter with a 6-0 run to take an early lead, but Talk ‘n Text’s Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Jason Castro collaborated to kickstart the Tropang Texters’ campaign and mount an 18-4 run to lead by as many as eight, 18-10, with five minutes left on the clock. The Tropang Texters pushed the lead to ten, 23-13, with less than three minutes left on the clock. Despite a late rally by Barako Bull, it was the Tropang Texters who exited the quarter ahead of the chase, 25-19.
A couple of treys early in the second gave the Tropang Texters room to pull away once more and lead by as many as eleven, 33-23, two minutes into the period. The Energy found their much needed spark in prized rookie Jake Pascual, who scored six points in the 8-0 run that brought Barako Bull to as close as three points, 34-37, with little more than four minutes left on the clock. But Matt Roser, unfazed by the Energy’s run, came to the rescue of Talk ‘n Text once more, leading the Tropang Texters to widen the gap back to eleven, 47-36, within the next two minutes of play. At the half, they led 47-37.
The third quarter saw Barako Bull put together another rally, going 7-1 in the opening minutes of the period to come within four, 44-48. Approaching the halfway mark of the quarter, a Carlo Lastimosa floater finally put the Energy within striking distance 48-50. A five-point blast by Lastimosa a minute later gave Barako Bull their first taste of the lead since the opening minutes of the first quarter, 53-52. Talk ‘n Text, however, took back the lead immediately on the other end, following two successful free throws from Larry Fonacier. The Tropang Texters would be able to hold on to their lead just a bit longer, closing out the third with a narrow 62-59 edge.
Solomon Alabi gave the lead back to Barako Bull three minutes into the final period, 63-62. This was answered on the other end by fellow import Richard Howell with a powerful layup to give the lead back to Talk ‘n Text. The next minutes of play saw the two squads figure in a heated shootout and battle for the lead. Approaching the last two minutes, a trey from Larry Fonacier gave the Tropang Texters a much needed boost, putting them ahead by six, 76-70. A couple of free throws from Willy Wilson and Solomon Abili cut the lead to three, but around the minute-and-half mark of the last two minutes, another triple by Jason Castro pushed the lead back to six, 79-73. Unfazed by the deficit, Alabi gave the Energy a lease on life with a layup to come within four, 75-79, a minute left on the clock.
The Tropang Texters however applied enough defensive pressure to force the Energy to miss, and with the score unchanged with just ten seconds left to play, Matt Roser iced the win with split free throws.
Jason Castro was named Best Player of the Game with 16 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Matt Ganuelas-Rosser added 15 points. Reinforcement Solomon Alabi led Barako Bull with an impressive 21 points, 24 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The Tropang Texters improve to 3-1, a slate now shared with Barako Bull.