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PBA: Castro lifts TNT

Jayson Castro

Buzzer-beating J sends NLEX on detour

Manila, Philippines – Talk ’N Text ace guard Jayson Castro delivered another big shot as he nailed a 20-footer at the buzzer that allowed the Tropang Texters to survive a late charge by the NLEX Road Warriors with a 98-96 win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 5-foot-10 Castro, named to the Mythical Selection during the 2013 FIBA Asia, first eluded the defense of Rudy Linganay with a crossover move before firing a shot against the latter and Jonas Villanueva.

The shot found nothing but net and Castro ran towards the dugout where he was carried by new TNT import Ivan Johnson.

The victory extended the Tropang Texters’ streak to three games as they improved their win-loss record to 5-1 – one game behind the unbeaten Meralco Bolts (5-0) – while the Road Warriors dropped to 1-4.

Johnson, a former NBA player who replaced Richard Howell, finished with 32 points on 11-of-32 shooting from the field while adding 10 rebounds. Castro contributed 16 points, while Ranidel de Ocampo 13 points.

“We didn’t do a good job in handling their comeback. Slippage on defense, and we also made them score a lot of points,” said TNT coach Jong Uichico. “We were lucky to win the game.”

“We can go back and see how we didn’t handle their comeback very well. Yung import namin, ok naman, two days pa lang practice. He has to learn some of the plays. He’s pretty okay except he’s gotten into foul trouble. Hindi pa kami magkakakilala, it’s a given,” added Uichico.

TNT took control of the game early, leading by 13 points (32-19) after the first period. The lead ballooned to as many as 28 points (80-52) on a three-pointer by Johnson with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter.

It was 89-71 entering the final frame and the Texters probably thought they had the game under wraps.

NLEX trimmed the deficit to 11 points, 83-96, before de Ocampo made a layup that gave the Texters a 96-83 advantage with five minutes to play.

The Road Warriors answered with a 13-0 run capped by a technical free throw by Meralco import Al Thornton with 7.9 seconds to play. TNT guard Larry Fonacier was assessed with an automatic technical when he called a timeout when there was none for Talk ’N Text while trying to save the ball from going out of bounds.

TALK ’N TEXT 98 – Johnson 32, Castro 16, De Ocampo 13, Miller 9, Rosser 9, Carey 6, Aban 5, Alas 4, Fonacier 2, Reyes R.J. 2.

NLEX 96 – Thornton 37, Villanueva J. 13, Ramos 10, Cardona 9, Canaleta 8, Taulava 6, Arboleda H. 5, Villanueva E. 3, Baloria 3, Lingganay 2, Hermida 0, Arboleda W. 0, Borboran 0.

Quarters: 32-19; 65-40; 89-71; 98-96.