Game Today (Smart Araneta)
5 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Talk ‘N Text
Talk ‘N Text guns for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship in Game 6 tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Rain or Shine, on the other hand, hopes to dodge the bullet when it whizzes by.
Game time is at 5 p.m., with the 3-2 Tropang Texters looking to put away the struggling Elasto Painters and bring to an end a tumultuous best-of-7 series that has spilled into the locker room corridor and dragged no less the wives of some of the players after Game 5 last Friday.
ROS, meanwhile, would love nothing than to level the finals for a third time and forge an hour of reckoning in Game 7 on Wednesday.
TNT coach Jong Uichico spoke of living to fight another day after a Game 4 victory that tied the series. Now ROS mentor Yeng Guiao’s turn has come to make possible utterance of the same post-game speech.
But Guiao will have to address more pressing matters, specifically the E-Painters’ defensive meltdown in the face of the Tropang Texters’ all-out assault.
Guiao admitted as much to Spin.ph after emerging from an hour-long lockdown with his players following Friday’s 103-94 loss.
“We did not play any defense today,” Guiao said. “I’m disappointed that we were always half a step slow, one full step behind, and there just was no aggressiveness on defense.”
Neither did ROS had anything going on offense.
Whatever passed for defense allowed TNT to shoot 49 percent (37 of 76) from the floor in Game 5, while ROS went just 31 of 71 (44 percent).
The three-point shooting percentage and free throw numbers of both teams cancelled each other out, but ROS committed 16 errors to TNT’s 7 (16-2 difference in turnover points) and gave up a 10-4 edge in steals.
Ranidel de Ocampo, at this point Best Player of the Conference Jayson Castro’s biggest rival for the PBA Press Corps Finals MVP award, had another sterling evening, matching import Ivan Johnson’s 27 points.
De Ocampo poured 27 points, again leading the way as he did in Game 1 (24 points) and Game 4 (33), both won by the Tropang Texters, who are seeking their seventh championship and only their second Commissioner’s Cup title.
Ever the pragmatist, Uichico reminded everybody during the post-game media interview that the series is far from over. Nonetheless, he refused to entertain thoughts of letting the E-Painters off the hook and going through a potentially disastrous Game 7.
“Buti nanalo, pero di pa tapos,” he said. “We should come to Sunday’s game with the same attitude, the same sense of urgency. Complacency should farthest from our minds if we don’t want to shift momentum back to Rain or Shine.”
Meantime, it is yet to be verified whether the PBA will invite the wives of TNT forward Harvey Carey and ROS guard Jireh Ibanes who figured in a shouting match minutes outside the dugouts after Game 5.
Both women declined to be interviewed after the incident.