The Talk N Text Tropang Texters, playing without an import, took command of the game early then survived the last ditch rally by Blackwater Elite to post a 108-102 victory in the opening game of the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday, Feb. 11 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to begin its title defense with a scrambling victory.
Talk N Text import Ivan Johnson served out his one-game suspension which didn’t bother the Tropang Texters at all. They led early, survived a late rally by Blackwater and went on to post a hard-earned win.
Jayson Castro showed the way for his squad by scoring a team-high 22 points. He drilled a crucial three-pointer that proved to be the marginal basket with less than a minute remaining.
Ranidel De Ocampo returned from injury to help the Tropang Texters by adding 20 points, four rebounds and three assists. He also provided the squad with the necessary toughness.
Johnson served the one game suspension for being involved in an altercation with Blackwater big men John Paul Erram and Frank Golla.
”Buti nakalusot ng walang import. Credit to the players. Lumaban pa rin sila kahit walang import. We’re still adjusting and I hope we can get better,” said Talk N Text coach Jong Uichico.
De Ocampo and Castro led the Tropang Texters who kept Blackwater at bay for the entirety of the game. The largest lead for TNT was 14 points which they put up twice with over nine minutes left in the game.
Talk N Text seemed headed to an easy victory. But Blackwater had other ideas as they threatened near the end.
A booming 12-3 blast by Blackwater the gap to a single point, after Elite import MJ Rhett made his two free throws to make it 103-102 in favor of Talk N Text with less than a minute to go.
Castro hit a huge triple with 54 seconds left to give Talk ‘N Text more breathing room, 106-102. Talk N Text then held on until the final horn.
De Ocampo, sidelined during the Philippine Cup due to a back injury, returned to action.
Blackwater could not take advantage of the lack of reinforcement of Talk N Text because of their own ineffective import MJ Rhett who was lackadaisical and went on to finish with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Carlo Lastimosa picked up the scoring slack as he exploded for a career-high 39 points.
TROPANG TEXTERS 108 – Castro 22, De Ocampo 20, Reyes R.16, Tautuaa 16, Williams 9, Rosser 8, Fonacier 7, Carey 6, Reyes J. 4, Ababou 0, Aban 0, Nuyles 0.
BLACKWATER 102 – Lastimosa 39, Rhett 16, Cervantes 15, Cortez 14, Dela Cruz 11, Reyes 3, Gamalinda 2, Golla 2, Bulawan 0, Canada 0, Erram 0, Tiongson 0.
Quarter scores: 29-26, 52-44, 83-72, 108-102.
Games Friday, Feb. 12
Smart Araneta Coliseum
4:15 p.m. – Mahindra vs. GlobalPort
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs. NLEX