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PBA: Texters try to stop Mixers

James Yap over Ranidel De Ocampo

Game Today (Smart Araneta)
5 p.m. – Talk ‘N Text vs San Mig Super Coffee

Manila, Philippines – Diminished chances and all, Talk ‘N Text gets another crack at stopping history before it could reach the Finals.

The Tropang Texters, however, are fast running out of opportunities.

Grand Slam-seeking San Mig Super Coffee hopes to shove the Tropang Texters into a deep, dark hole where communications lines falter, called parties cannot be reached and batteries go dead when they clash in Game 2 of the PBA PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Petron Saturday Special offering is at 5 this afternoon, with the Mixers holding a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-5 series after taking the opener in overtime, 92-88.

“We just battled; we stayed in the game to give ourselves a chance in the end,” said San Mig coach Tim Cone. “ We’re a team of attrition right now. Our guys are battling and grinding. We expect Talk ’N Text to come out as strong in Game 2 but we’ll be ready.”

Marqus Blakely was more than ready in Game 1.

He finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks before twisting his ankle in the fourth quarter. His abbreviated appearance was more than enough to outshine TNT counterpart Paul Harris however.

Harris had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Allein Maliksi sent the game into extra period with a three-point shot with 22 seconds left in regulation. Mark Barroca and Marc Pingris then combined in a 9-0 windup to turn an 82-80 deficit into an 89-82 lead in the dying moments of overtime.

TNT coach Norman Black knows the gravity of the situation.

“No question, Game 2 is a must-win situation for us,” Black said. “We cannot afford to go down two games. It’s important that we play tough, intense basketball for 48 minutes.”

The Tropang Texters did until they let the Mixers slipped away.

“We also have to execute well in the endgame both offensively and defensively, because San Mig has shown the ability to finish strong in games. Interior defense will be our number one priority,” Black added.

Jayson Castro led TNT with 24 points and 7 assists and Ranidel de Ocampo added 19 with 13 rebounds. But Jimmy Alapag took just three shots, Larry Fonacier went 2 of 10 in 23 minutes, Ryan Reyes 2 of 4 in 29, and KG Canaleta 2 of 12 in 20.

The Mixers are eyeing a three-conference sweep which would give them their first Grand Slam and Cone’s second after leading Alaska to the feat in 1996.

Meanwhile, the opener of the semifinal series between Rain or Shine and Alaska was ongoing at presstime, with Game 2 at 6 p.m. tomorrow also at the Big Dome.

SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 92 — Blakely 20, Yap 13, Barroca 11, Maliksi 10, Pingris 10, Devance 9, Sangalang 9, Mallari 6, Melton 4, Reavis 0.

TALK N’ TEXT 88 – Castro 24, De Ocampo 19, Harris 17, Williams 9, Alapag 5, Fonacier 4, Baclao 4, Reyes 3, Canaleta 3, Carey 0.

Quarters: 18-22; 39-40; 62-65; 77-77 (reg.); 92-88 (OT)