Both teams needed 58 minutes to decide a champion. However, only one had to win. Only one had to survive. At the end of the night, the conference belonged to the Tropang Texters.
Game 7 of the 2015 PBA Commissioners Cup featured a first– a double overtime extension that was sealed by Talk ‘N Text in a thrilling and scintillating 121-119 finish over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, to write another successful chapter in their storied franchise, held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Talk ‘N Text couldn’t have asked for a better start as they came out of the gates blistering scoring-wise, building an early double-digit separation in just three minutes of play. Despite Paul Lee answering the opening triple of Ranidel De Ocampo with his own trey, the Tropang Texters’ showcased their spectacular shooting in the opening frame. De Ocampo and Harvey Carey made their own and one plays, which generated a 15-5 game that further rattled Rain or Shine squad.
The Painters, on the other hand, had a poor start shooting the basketball, while also committing unforced turnovers, that led to transition baskets on the other end. Six more points capped by a three-point play by Ivan Johnson gave TNT their largest lead in the opening 12 minutes at 21-5. Lee salvaged some points and led the run in the middle of the quarter as they finished a 16-5 run to trim the deficit down to eight after 12 minutes of action.
Seeing their lead slowly evaporating, Talk ‘N Text started the second period with majority of their starters on the floor. Both teams had a hard time cracking the basket as the first field goal of the second came from a contested triple by Jonathan Uyloan with over eight minutes to go to make it a 33-26 game in favor of TNT. Scoring started to cool down for the two teams, but TNT built a mini 6-0 run including a tough basket by De Ocampo to reinstall a 10-point lead, 40-32.
Rain or Shine finished the last three minutes of the first half on a 10-5 run slice the lead to single digits again. The Painters had a tough time containing the transition game of the Texters as they were outscored 8-0 in fast break points after 24 minutes.
The Tropang Texters initiated the second half the way they started the game with their scorching shooting from downtown, helping them cruise in the third. After a fast break layup completed by Harvey Carey, the Texters unleashed four triples to make it a 64-51 game. Rain or Shine chipped in quick baskets for a counterattack, but Ivan Johnson came alive with back-to-back hangtime shots to beat the shot clock buzzer and maintain their edge.
The last half of the third quarter was a showcase between the top two Best Player of the Conference favorites, Jason Castro and Paul Lee, as these tremendous guards went head-to-head to carry their respective squads. Lee, however, scored more in the dying minutes, including a fastbreak triple to cut the lead to four, 69-73. A nice play in the last seconds for TNT led to a wide open corner shot for Jay Washington, to stop Rain or Shine’s run and take a seven point lead heading into the fourth.
Castro and De Ocampo made sharply-contested treys to open up the payoff period, but Uyloan knocked down a triple to aid Chism’s first eight points in fourth quarter, hence making it an 84-80 game, in favor of the Tropang Texters. After Chris Tiu turned it into a one-point game with a triple, Castro countered with back-to-back of his own to make it a 90-83 game. The following sequence saw Lee making a triple, but was answered by a hook shot by De Ocampo.
With the scoreboard showing a 96-91 match in favor of TNT, and with less than two minutes to play, Tiu secured a big offensive rebound that led to a wide open triple by Wayne Chism. Afterwhich, Johnson split his charity shots to make it a three-point game in their favor that was responded by a clutch off-balanced triple by Chism to tie it up at 97. As Castro missed a long two in the dying seconds, Chris Tiu also muffed a hoisted triple with 1.6 seconds left that extended the match to overtime.
In overtime, Chism scored five straight points, including a pivotal corner trey to make it a 104-101 game, with over a minute to play. Quick to respond were Johnson, who buried his own from downtown, and Larry Fonacier, who made free throws to swing the lead on their side.
Tiu found a cutting Paul Lee on their side to tie the game again, while Chism played superb defense, as he swatted a potential lead-giving basket by Johnson. Off their timeouts, Lee and Castro exchanged misses from three-point territory that extended Game 7 for a second overtime.
De Ocampo drilled in eight fast points including two big time triples that gave them a 114-111 lead, while Harvey Carey continued his stellar second half with huge offensive rebounds for TNT. Tiu fails to convert a triple that was answered by two charity stripe hits by Johnson to make it a five-point game. In the succeeding play down three, Lee was fouled by Castro with three ticks left, but the Rain or Shine guard made only the first one, while Johnson corralled the championship-sealing rebound.
In a stat sheet-filled match up, the two teams combined for 38 triples the entire game. Rain or Shine had more boards, 59-48 but it was Castro and De Ocampo’s composure late that spelled the difference and edge to get the title.
De Ocampo, the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP, tallied his career-high in this championship game as he ended with 34 points including six triples, together with seven boards in 47 minutes of playing time. Johnson added a 34 marker, 11 rebound statline.
Chism played a stellar game for the bridesmaid finishers with 34 points, 29 rebounds in the entire 58-minute span of the game.
Talk ‘N Text (121) – De Ocampo 34, Johnson 30, Castro 24, Fonacier 12, Washington 10, Carey 9, Espiritu 2, Alas 0, Miller 0, Williams 0
Rain or Shine (119) – Lee 38, Chism 34, Tiu 10, Ibañes 8, Uyloan 8, Norwood 6, Araña 5, Cruz 4, Quiñahan 4, Belga 2, Tang 0, Almazan 0
Quarter scores: 31-21, 50-42, 76-69, 97-97, 106-106, 121-119