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Talk ‘N Text forces late Purefoods collapse; equalizes the semis series



The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters hit the right baskets to outgun an exhausted Purefoods Star Hotshots in crunch time and ice the crucial 93-77 game two victory in their semis series, Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Jay Washington and Jason Castro collaborated to give TNT a 5-0 start and help establish their foothold. Denzel Bowles took charge of the Star Hotshots’ assault, sinking a couple of baskets and come within two, 6-8. A hot performance from import Ivan Johnson and Castro helped the Tropang Texters take control of the ballgame, piling on the lead to saddle the misfiring Hotshots. TNT led by as many as 10 before exiting the quarter with a 21-13 advantage.

A hot start from former Best Import Bowles saw the Hotshots come back to life early in the second, but the Tropang Texters’ gunners kept the baskets coming. Three minutes into the period, the Tropang Texters were back up by double digits, 31-21. The hardworking Bowles was able to keep the fight alive for the Hotshots; but with him, the only bright spot on the Purefoods offense the lead would stay with Talk ‘N Text. At the half, the Tropang Texters led 40-34.

The third quarter opened to the Star Hotshots finally finding their much needed spark. Former two-time MVP James Yap collaborated with Bowles to force a 12-0 blitz and steal the lead, 46-40, four minutes into the second half. What followed was a back-and-forth affair between Bowles and the TNT gunners, with the lead exchanging hands play after play. The Hotshots pulled away for a 56-52 lead late in the quarter, but baskets from Ranidel de Ocampo and Ivan Johnson were enough to force a 56-all deadlock with around a minute left to play. The end of the quarter was marred when Allein Maliksi of Purefoods and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser of TNT figured in a near-scuffle after finding themselves entangled. Maliksi was handed a Flagrant 1 and Ganuelas-Rosser went on to sink the two awarded freethrows to give Talk ‘N Text a 59-57 lead at the end of the quarter.

The two squads’ trade of salvos would resume early in the fourth, with Purefoods one step ahead thanks to a five-point blitz from Mic Pennisi. Back-to-back treys from Kevin Alas paved the way for Talk ‘N Text to take a 73-70 advantage halfway through the quarter. A reinvigorated Johnson helped the Tropang Texters regain their foothold and lead by as many as six in the next few minutes of play. A triple from Jason Castro gave TNT an 83-74 lead with two minutes left to play.

Another series of baskets from Castro and de Ocampo within the next minute were enough to bury the Hotshots’ last minute push. At the buzzer, it was the Tropang Texters walking away with the victory.

Jayson Castro was named Best Player of the Game with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Denzel Bowles led Purefoods with 35 points and 8 rebounds. The Tropang Texters are now tied with the Hotshots at 1-1 in the semifinals series, which resumes Tuesday night.

The Scores:

TNT (90) – Castro 21, Johnson 16, de Ocampo 14, Washington 12, Fonacier 10, Alas 12, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Carey 2, Williams 2, Aban 2

Purefoods (77) – Bowles 35, Yap 15, Simon 10, Pennisi 5, Devance 3, Maliksi 3, Reavis 2, Mallari 2, Barroca 2,

Quarters: 21-13, 40-34, 59-57, 90-77

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