The Tropang Texters grabbed their fourth win in the Philippine Cup, after surviving a grueling Tuesday night showdown with the Meralco Bolts, 80-72, at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Meralco opened the first quarter with a 5-0 lead, following back-to-back baskets from Gary David. The
Tropang Texters however soon recovered, leading to a heated shootout between the two squads
that saw numerous lead changes. After twelve minutes of trading baskets, the Tropang Texters were
able to stay on top for the end of the first quarter, 22-19. Talk ‘n Text continued to pace the game well into the second quarter, delivering at both ends of the court to stay ahead of the Bolts. Powered by 15 first half points from Ryan Reyes, the Tropang Texters entered halftime with a 37-33 lead.
The Tropang Texters led for most of the third quarter, but a 9-point explosion from Gary David
early in the period gave Meralco the means to slowly hack away at Talk ‘ n Text lead. A triple from Sean Anthony gave the Bolts their first taste of the lead since the first quarter, 44-42, halfway through the quarter. Talk ‘n Text however managed to respond, forcing another shootout that led to a 53-53 deadlock seconds before the end of the quarter. Veteran three-point specialist Mark Macapagal however managed to break away for a corner triple with 2.1 seconds left on the clock, giving Meralco a 55-53 lead at the end of the quarter.
A highly-physical fourth quarter saw both teams duke it out in another trade of rallies. Talk ‘n Text managed to gain momentum to build an eight-point lead, 76-68, with three minutes left on the clock, after a trifecta from Talk ‘n Text veteran Ranidel de Ocampo, who had struggled at the free throw line earlier in the quarter. Back-to-back baskets from Cliff Hodge and Mike Cortez cut the deficit 72-76 for Meralco in the final two minutes of the game. The Bolts however were denied another basket in the crucial final minute, owing to back-to-back blocks from Harvey Carey. Tropang Texters went on to sink a couple more free throws to seal the game.
Ryan Reyes led the scoring for the Tropang Texters with 17 points, 15 in the first half alone. Fourth quarter hero Ranidel de Ocampo had 15. Gary David led Meralco with 17 points. Talk ‘n Text moves up to 3-2 at solo third, while Meralco slips to 3-2.
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