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PBA: Texters gain semis

Games Today (Smart Araneta)
3 p.m. – Alaska vs Purefoods
5:15 p.m. – Meralco vs NLEX

The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters were too much in a hurry yesterday to be bothered by a heavy-footed, lumbering herd.

Behind a whopping 45-point first quarter, the No. 2 seed Tropang Texters advanced to the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup by throttling the Energy out of Barako Bull, 127-97, at the Mall of Asia Arena, setting up a best-of-5 showdown with the winner of the Purefoods-Alaska quarterfinal series.

The halftime score was 75-44, with Barako Bull clueless on what hit them.

TNT returns to the scene of its 3-0 semifinals triumph over Rain or Shine last season, a masterful performance that sent the Texters to the Finals against Purefoods, which emerged with a 3-1 victory and the second jewel of the 2014 Grand Slam.

Purefoods leads its series with Alaska, 1-0, and a rematch of epic proportions with TNT looms should the Hotshots make it.

No. 1-ranked Rain or Shine was playing Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at press time, likewise needing only a victory to join Talk ‘N Text in the semis against the team that emerges from the Meralco-NLEX best-of-3 playoffs.

Meanwhile, having completed half the job two days ago, defending champion Purefoods Star and Meralco look to deliver the coup de grace today in the best-of-3 quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Macabre as it sounds, the Hotshots seek to finish off the Alaska Aces at 3 p.m., while the crackling Bolts hope to put the Road Warriors out of their misery at 5:15 p.m.

Do-or-die Game 3s are in store if the Aces and the Road Warriors stay their execution and live to fight another day.

Only victories can redeem Alaska and NLEX from the ignominy of opening losses.

Forgotten sniper Mark Macapagal torched the Road Warriors on 5-of-10 3-point shooting in a 97-82 victory by the Bolts, while Denzel Bowles unloaded 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting and James Yap 18 as the Hotshots blew away the Aces, 120-86.

The winner of the Purefoods-Alaska playoffs will face in the best-of-5 semifinals the team that emerges from the Talk ‘N Text-Barako Bull clash which was ongoing at presstime; the victor in the Meralco-NLEX matchup, on the other hand, gets the winner of the slam-bang Rain or Shine-Barangay Ginebra San Miguel encounter.

Purefoods had six players in double figures in Game 1, a well-spread offense Alaska will have to find a way to disrupt if it is to force a rubber match. The Aces will also have to unravel the scoring malady afflicting key players which robbed them of the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the Hotshots.

TALK N’ TEXT 127 – Johnson 35, Castro 18, De Ocampo 16, Rosser 12, Fonacier 10, Alas 8, Seigle 8, Washington 5, Williams 4, Espiritu 3, Carey 2, Labagala 2, Reyes 2, Aban 2, Miller 0.

BARAKO BULL 97 – Alabi 23, Intal 22, Lanete 13, Pascual 12, Garcia 6, Lastimosa 6, Marcelo 6, Mercado 4, Hubalde 3, salvador 2, Salva 0, Paredes 0.

Quarters: 45-23; 75-44; 101-73; 127-97