By TITO S. TALAO
Manila, Philippines – Defending champion Talk ‘N Text knew exactly where to bring Globalport’s two high-flying rookies – back to earth.
Working their system with patience and perfection, the Tropang Texters hardly broke a sweat in dismantling the Batang Pier, 106-93, last night for their second straight win in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
They seized control early behind torrents of baskets, took away Globalport’s brashness with precision plays, and then clamped down on defense to thwart any effort to stage a comeback reminiscent of what the Batang Pier did against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel recently.
TNT improved to 3-1 and moved into a share of 3rd place with Rain or Shine, while Globalport, which sent shivers up the Kings before wilting, fell to 1-3, in a 7th place tie with San Mig Super Coffee and Alaska.
“It’s a good feeling to have more weapons tonight, with Danny S and Ranidel [de Ocampo] back from injury,” said TNT coach Norman Black. “The first three games, we were a limited team. Those two gave us more balance.”
Black lamented the injuries that hit his team early.
“It’s difficult having your key players hurt,” he said. “Hopefully Ryan [Reyes] gets back in a couple of games. We’re way, way off our potential. We’re maybe not anywhere close to reaching our stride. But I think we’ll be a better team down road and peak at the right time.”
Larry Fonacier led TNT with 18 points while Jimmy Alapag added 17.
Fonacier came out blazing, but Alapag and Castro kept their guns holstered for most of the first quarter, stepping back and allowing two additions to the team to get acquainted with the TNT way.
Danny Seigle, the 1999 Rookie of the Year who won 6 championships with San Miguel, made his much-anticipated debut with the Tropang Texters scoring 6 points on 3 of 3 shooting with 3 rebounds as reloaded TNT flew off to a 34-20 lead in the first quarter.
Newcomer Eloy Poligrates, the Texters’ 27th pick during the draft, also bared some promising stuff, other than his tattoos, going 2 for 2 in the first 12 minutes. He also nailed a 3-pointer early in the second period that gave TNT a 41-20 advantage.
Alapag collected something more meaningful – membership (9th) to the PBA’s 3,000 assists club.
Fonacier scored TNT’s first 9 points as the Texters arrayed their howitzers against Globalport’s young guns in anticipation of an O.K. Corral type of firefight.
It was unnecessary.
The expected shootout never materialized as the two Batang Pier neophytes fired blanks in the opening period, clearly overwhelmed by the defensive dragnet thrown at them.
Romeo would finish with 16 points on 3 of 13 shooting behind Jay Washington’s 21 while Garcia just had 7. Neither rookie, nor the veteran Washington, could do anything to stem the tide when the Texters built their biggest lead at 92-68.
Globalport shot 38 percent from the floor, missed 16 free throws, and were outrebounded, 66-45, with Harvey Carey grabbing 14 for TNT, Nonoy Baclao 14, and Castro 11 with 6 assists, along with Alapag.
No Batang Pier player had more than 8 rebounds (Nico Salva).
The Barangay Ginebra-Meralco game was ongoing at presstime.
TALK ‘N TEXT 106 – Fonacier 18, Alapag 17, Seigle 13, Castro 12, Carey 11, Baclao 10, Williams 8, Poligrates 7, Anthony 5, De Ocampo 3, Celiz 2, Ferriols 0, Reyes 0.
GLOBALPORT 93 – Washington 21, Romeo 16, Mercado 14, Chua 11, Garcia 7, Nabong 6, Salva 6, Belencion 4, Hayes 4, Lingganay 2, Menk 2, Ponferrada 0, Salvador 0.
Quarters: 34-20, 64-51, 91-68, 106-93.