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PBA: TNT is champ

TnT Champs.   Photo by Tony Pionilla

Texters capture 7th PBA title in 2 OT

In a Game 7 that refused to end – amid changing fortunes, hellish misses and glorious shots – Talk ‘N Text finally found a way to put an exclamation point on a historic championship in the second overtime.

Ranidel de Ocampo scored eight straight points, including back-to-back three-point shots, at the start of the second extra period and the Tropang Texters protected the meager margin with their lives in surviving the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 121-119, last night that climaxed an epic PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The double-overtime Game 7 victory went down as a first in league history, adding extra meaning and significance to the Manny V. Pangilinan franchise’s seventh title overall.

“All the credit goes to the players,” said Texters coach Jong Uichico, who bagged his ninth championship and first since the 2008 Fiesta Conference Finals when he was still calling the shots for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. “Nakaka-nerbyos tong laro na ‘to. Grabe ang Rain or Shine. It could have been anybody’s ballgame. But the players kept their composure at kahit pagod na, pukpok pa rin sa laro.”

De Ocampo led TNT with 34 points on 6 of 9 three-point shooting with 7 rebounds and was named PBA Press Corps-Holcim Finals MVP. Import Ivan Johnson added 30

“Lahat kami rito, MVP,” said De Ocampo, whose sixth 3-pointer gave the Texters a 114-108 lead with 3:13 advantage which they never relinquished after twice staring directly at a monumental collapse in regulation and the first overtime.

Wayne Chism’s triple with 26 seconds left in the fourth quarter forged overtime, 97-all, with ROS coming back from 16 points. Paul Lee then sent the championship into a second OT after Chris Tiu found him free under the basket.

The second extra period belonged to TNT all the way, however.

TnT's Harvey Carey committs a foul against driving RoS Paul Lee as Ivan Johnson tries to extend help defense during PBA game 7 Finals action at Smart Araneta Coliseum.    Photo by Tony Pionilla

The loss was a painful one for four-time runnerup ROS, with Lee, who finished with 38 points, opting to take a way-out 3-pointer on their final shot in the first extra period.

What brought the E-Painters back from a double-digit deficit, deserted them in the end, with Chris Tiu going 2 of 11 from afar and nothing else falling except for a Gabe Norwood trey that cut TNT’s lead to 114-111.

Chism wound up with 34 points but failed to get the ball as frequently in the second OT.

TNT weathered ROS’ spirited second quarter comeback to take the half, 50-42, but not after torching the Elasto Painters in the first 12 minutes.

The 3-point arc became the launching pad for a massive offensive effort by the Texters to overrun the E-Painters’ defenses from the opening jump.

In yet their deadliest start in the series, the Texters rained down six 3-point shots and three completed 3-point plays on the stunned E-Painters in the first period, burying their first three 3-point attempts behind De Ocampo, Ivan Johnson and Jayson Castro in racing to a 21-5 spread.

Behind Lee’s 13 first half points, ROS came back to within 8 at the end of the first quarter and 5 halfway in the second. But with Chism turning the ball over on three occasions and contributing just 6 points on 3 of 7 from the floor, the E-Painters could come no closer.

Johnson kept a lid on his temper to lead TNT with 16 points in the first half while De Ocampo added 13. Two-time MVP Willie Miller, more of a fixture on the bench than the go-to-guy of yore, got the spotlight shone on him after making a brief appearance as backup point guard in the last 4 minutes of the half in lieu of rookie Kevin Alas who hurt his left foot and played just 4:20 minutes.

A painful strained right foot kept ROS hotshot Jeff Chan on the bench as well as TNT defensive guard Aaron Aban, who arrived with his right elbow on a sling.

TALK N’ TEXT 121 – De Ocampo 34, Johnson 30, Castro 24, Fonacier 12, Washington 10, Carey 9, Rosser 2, Alas 0, Miller 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 119 – Lee 38, Chism 34, Tiu 10, Uyloan 8, Ibanes 8, Norwood 6, Arana 5, Cruz Jericho 4, Quinahan 4, Belga 2, Tang 0, Chan 0, Almazan 0.

Quarters: 29-21; 50-42; 76-69; 97-97 (reg.); 106-106 (OT); 121-119 (OT2)