by Waylon Galvez
Games Sunday (Mall of Asia Arena)
3 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Glopbalporrt
5:15 p.m. – Ginebra vs San Mig
Manila, Philippines – Just like when they first met this conference, it took an extra period to decide the game’s outcome between defending three-time champion Talk ’N Text and Alaska.
And just like in their first meeting, the Tropang Texters came out the winner.
TNT opened the year 2014 with a crucial victory by beating Alaska again, 121-117, this time in extra period to stay in contention for the twice-to-beat incentive in the playoffs in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Kelly Williams, who returned this season after missing almost half of the previous season to deal with a blood disorder illness, finished with a double-double 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Ryan Reyes had 17 markers, including five points in overtime of the Petron Saturday Special.
Reyes converted a big three-pointer that shattered the game’s last deadlock of 113-all that gave the Texters a 116-113 lead with 53.6 seconds to play. JV Casio trimmed the deficit to a single point when he converted two free throws, 115-116, with 36.9 seconds to go.
Ranidel de Ocampo then came through with his own booming triple that bounced on the rim twice before it went in for a 119-115 advantage with 25.1 seconds left in the game. It was 117-119 when Sonny Thoss made a put-back.
TNT’s Jimmy Alapag sealed the victory with a pair of free throws, which kept him perfect 27-for-27 from the stripe, 121-117, with 11.2 seconds to go.
The win propelled Talk ’N Text to a share for third and fourth places with Rain or Shine as it now sports similar 7-3 cards, one game behind Petron Blaze (8-2) and 1 1/2 behind league-leader Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (9-1).
“A tough win, a good win… a much-needed win,” said TNT head coach Norman Black, whose squad defeated Alaska in OT, 114-111, last Nov. 28 also the MOA.
“It helps us gain momentum and it helps us recover from a demoralizing loss against Petron Blaze,” stressed Black, referring to his team’s 105-91 setback to the Boosters last Dec. 28.
“The last time we played Alaska, the game also ended in overtime. It shows you the quality of Alaska, and how difficult to beat them. A lot of people asked me about our chances for twice-to-beat… we’ll just try to win as many games.”
“If we’re lucky enough to gain that twice-to-beat, so be it. If not, at least we can get momentum and confidence going to the playoffs,” said Black, who got 16 points apiece from de Ocampo and Jayson Castro, while Larry Fonacier and Sean Anthony added 14 and 13 points, respectively.
In the other match, the Meralco Bolts drew a big lift from Gary David and new Bolt Danny Ildefonso to hack out a 92-88 overtime win over the Air21 Express.
Talk ‘n Text 121 – Williams 18, R. Reyes 17, de Ocampo 16, Castro 16, Fonacier 14, Anthony 13, Seigle 9, Carey 8, Alapag 5, J. Reyes 3, Baclao 2.
Alaska 117 – Thoss 30, Jazul 18, Espinas 18, Baguio 17, Casio 11, Abueva 9, Ramos 7, Exciminiano 3, Dela Cruz 2, Eman 2, Hontiveros 0.
Quarterscores: 26-26, 48-40, 83-80, 108-108, 121-118.
Meralco 98 – David 34, Ildefonso 14, Wilson 13, Hugnatan 9, Dillinger 8, Salvacion 5, Guevarra 5, Hodge 4, Timberlake 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Artadi 0.
Air 21 88 – Canaleta 32, Taulava 15, Yeo 10, Manuel 8, Vardona 7, Sharma 6, Camson 4, Matias 2, Arboleda 2, Ritualo 2, Jaime 0, Menor 0, Custodio 0.
Quarters: 21-15; 38-31; 56-56; 79-79; 92-88