MANILA, Philippines – Shooting a lot better earlier then playing tough defense when it needed to in the crunch, Talk n Text drew first blood versus Rain or Shine in the PBA Philippine Cup finals.
“We executed the things what we wanted to do,” said Talk n Text coach Norman Black, sounding very much satisfied with their performance, dominating the Rain or Shine most of the way.
“That was a good start for us but at the same time we have to prepare for Game Two. Otherwise, they would bounce back,” Black added.
With much better ball movement and better shooting, the Tropang Texters enjoyed an 18-point spread at 33-15 and stayed in full control until the E-Painters established some rhythm and charged to within three at 76-79.
The Texters, however, stayed composed with Larry Fonacier and Jayson Castro hitting clutch baskets to keep RoS at bay.
Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo finished with 16 points apiece, combining for a 5-of-12 three-pointers as the two alone outshot the Elasto Painters (4-of-21) in three-point shooting.
“I think the stats and the numbers will indicate we beat them in most departments, except three-point shooting. They had six more treys than we did, and that’s 18 points. Really, that’s where it happened,” rued Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“We just didn’t shoot well. But as badly as we played, I still think we had a chance to win the game, and that’s what we wanted to do – to hang around. As long as we hang around, we can grind out some win,” Guiao also said.
Down by five at 79-84, the Elasto Painters continued to battle but eventually yielded as Paul Lee missed a layup then Jeff Chan committed a turnover.
“I’ve no expectation we can beat them with a big margin. “We’re playing Rain or Shine. They will fight you till the end,” said Black who curiously played a long rotation of 14 players as against Guiao’s 12.
“Some of the guys got fouls earlier and I had to go deeper to the bench. That’s gonna be the whole series. Similar to coach Yeng, I have confidence with my players,” said Black.
Jarred Dillinger was another TnT player who finished in double figures with 13 with Fonacier, Jimmy Alapag and Ali Peek adding at least eight apiece. Kelly Williams contributed 12 rebounds and six markers.
The losing team, meanwhile, was paced by Jervy Cruz and Lee with 13 and 11, respectively.
The Texters seized control early, 15-5, as the Elasto Painters went 1-of-11 from the field and committed three turnovers after making the game’s first basket through Larry Rodriguez.
After the E-Painters closed in at 15-19, the Texters uncorked a 14-to-nothing run in a four-minute stretch bridging the first two quarters as TnT took the 18-point spread.
RoS whittled down the gap to 12, 39-51 at halftime as JR Quinahan scored on a short stab then Chan nailed two charities off a foul by Bam Gamalinda in the last 37 seconds.
The Texters dominated the opening half with better ball movement that had them hitting at a 43.9-percent clip as against the E-Painters’ 33.3-percent shooting.
Castro, Jimmy Alapag and Ryan Reyes spiked TnT’s offense in the first half with a combined 4-of-6 three-pointers. RoS, on the other hand, struggled with a 2-of-10 three-point shooting.
Third-string players Rich Alvarez and Pamboy Raymundo had their contributions as Talk n Text kept the initiative and sat on a 71-58 cushion at the end of the third period.