With the danger of a loss eliminating them from advancing to the quarterfinals, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters hung on after squandering a big lead early and notched a 92-85 win over the Kia Carnival at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With backs against the wall, the Texters began the game firing from the perimeter and put on the distance in the opening quarter. Despite Alex Nuyles providing Kia its first lead of the game at 7-6, the Texters rushed to a 10-0 counter including four jump shots against the Carnival’s zone defense. In the opening period as well, the Texters’ defense were locked in as they forced Kia to contested attempts while also putting on early stops and forcing their opponents to early turnovers.
As their jumpers kept on falling in the first frame, Talk ‘N Text built their first double-digit lead and made it 23-13 with a Sam Daghles made basket. Meanwhile, Kia kept on feeding their import Hamed N’Diaye but the Carnival reinforcement was clobbered with multiple defenders, and was forced to find his other teammates. As the second unit was fielded, TNT was still able to score on a 7-2 run in the last 90 seconds to end their strong first quarter of play.
With momentum carrying on from the first period, the Tropang Texters were still feeling it from the floor as a triple by Aron Aban capped a 7-0 start to the second quarter and further increased their lead. As the Kia squad was unable to convert on successive baskets, the lead kept on growing and even reached 28 at one point, 54-26, with bench players also contributing big offensively for TNT. Despite having no sort of momentum one and a half quarters, Kia began to make a head start as they closed the first half on a 12-3 spurt to slice the lead.
Contrary to how they started the match, Kia looked like a totally different team in the second half as they started to pull out all the stops to make the game a close one. In less than five minutes, they were already within 11 points with Karl Dehesa scoring eight points during the stretch including two treys. On the other hand, shooting started to cool down for the Texters as they were now the ones who muffed multiple attempts from the perimeter.
Despite hanging on the double-digit lead until the two-minute mark of the third, Kia pushed and broke the 10-point barrier and closed it to within four at 69-65 with JR Cawaling’s three. Scoring their lowest scoring output in the game during the third, Talk ‘N Text answered back with an 11-4 blast in just a little over two minutes passing by the fourth. Kelly Williams was huge during the run as he inked in two treys in it. As the gassed Carnival started to look rattled against the Texters, TNT restored a 17-point cushion at 86-69. The huge fourth quarter run was necessary for the Texters in sealing the deal and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Talk ‘N Text finishes their elimination round stint at a 5-6 slate. Meanwhile, Kia stands at 4-6 and will face Meralco on the last day of elims next week Wednesday.
The two teams combined for 26 triples, but TNT’s 46% shooting was the distinct statline compared to Kia’s 40%. Jayson Castro finished with 19 points while Kelly Williams added 14, majority of which came in the fourth quarter. Dehasa top-scored Kia with 19 and four triples.
Talk ‘N Text (92) – Castro 19, Williams 14, De Ocampo 14, Daghles11, Pettigrew 9, Fonacier 7, Ganuelas Rosser 7, Washington 5, Aban 3, Seigle 2
Kia (85) – Dehesa 19, Chang 17, N”Diaye 9, Deutschman 8, Webb 8, Bagatsing 5, Yee 4, Cawaling 3, Buensuceso 3, Nuyles 2, Alvarez 2, Thiele 0
Quarters: 32-17, 57-38, 70-65, 92-85