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PBA: Talk ‘N Text alive

Tropang Texters fan flickering playoff bid

Game Today (Panabo City Coliseum, Davao del Norte)
5 p.m. – Alaska vs San Miguel

Playing with a renewed sense of urgency, PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion Talk ’N Text played turned back expansion team Kia Carnival, 94-85, to wrap up its elimination round campaign with a crucial victory that kept the team in the playoff race in the season-ending Governors’ Cup last night at Smart Araneta Coliseum

Jayson Castro scored 19 points, Ranidel de Ocampo finished with 14 points and Kelly Williams had 14 points coming off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting from three-point area, two of which he converted in the fourth quarter.

Talk ’N Text saw a 28-point advantage (54-26) midway in the second quarter trimmed to just four points, 65-69, following a huge Kia comeback capped by a three-pointer from JR Cawaling late in the third period.

There would be no collapsing for TNT however.

Protecting a five-point lead (70-65) to start the final frame, the Tropang Texters used an 11-4 run with Williams burying back-to-back triples to highlight the scoring for an 81-69 edge with 9:41 to play.

The lead ballooned to 17 points, 86-69, in the fourth when Asian reinforcement Osama Daghles of Jordan – who collected 11 points – drilled in a jump shot with 8:33 to play.

The closest Kia got after that was seven points, 85-92, on a trey by guard Hyram Bagatsing, 1:26 left. Talk ’N Text came up with the necessary stops to keep the Carnival at bay.

The victory gave Talk ’N Text a 5-6 card to end its elimination round campaign, currently at seventh spot in the team standings with a chance to advance to the quarterfinal playoffs.

Only the top eight teams will move to the next round, the top four earning a twice-to-beat advantage and the bottom four saying goodbye.

Defending champion Star is barely hanging on at eighth place with a 4-5 card while Kia – with this setback – dropped in a tie for ninth and tenth spots with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on 4-6 cards.

In case of ties, the quotient system will be applied, taking the options away from the hands of most contending teams.

“Wait and see… that’s all we can do right now,” said TNT coach Jong Uichico. “We have to be as positive as we can, I think it’s doable with the scenario. But unfortunately, it’s no in our hands.”

Uichico continues to keep the faith though.

“In reality, it can happen. It’s possible,” he said even as the possibility of replacing import Steffphon Pettigrew with former Air21 import Dominique Sutton was broached should TNT advance.

Karl Dehesa led Kia with 16 points, while 6-foot-11 Senegalese import Hamady N’Diaye was held to 17 points after dropping 31 points in a setback against Rain or Shine last Wednesday.

TALK ’N TEXT 94 – Castro 19, Williams 14, De Ocampo 14, Daghles 11, Pettigrew 11, Fonacier 7, Rosser 7, Washington 5, Aban 3, Seigle 2, Reyes R. 1, Carey 0.

KIA 85 – Dehesa 19, Chang 17, N’Diaye 9, Deutchman 8, Webb 8, Revilla 5, Bagatsing 5, Yee 4, Cawaling 3, Buensuceso 3, Nuyles 2, Alvarez 2, Avenido 0.

Quarters: 32-17, 57-38, 70-65, 94-85.