Texters boot out defending champs

TEAM STANDINGS:
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters: 9-3 (1-2)
Brgy. Ginebra Kings: 8-4 (3-0)
B-Meg Llamados: 8-4 (2-1)
Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters: 7-5 (2-1)
*Petron Blaze Boosters: 6-7 (1-3)
*Meralco Bolts: 5-8 (1-3)
 
*-Eliminated
 
 
GAMES SUNDAY
(Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs. Petron Blaze
6:30 p.m. – B-Meg vs. Brgy. Ginebra
 
For the nth time, the Tropang Texters of Talk ‘N Text showed they won’t just lie down and die.

Not with their finals hopes on the line. Not with gusty Jimmy Alapag–suffering from fever and all–coming up big anew.

Despite playing under the weather, Alapag sparked a decisive push in the crunch as Talk ‘N Text essayed a 103-94 victory over archrival Petron Blaze Friday night to keep their finals bid going in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Arguably the Tropang Texters’ heart and soul, Alapag collected 21 points and five assists laced with a handful of momentum-shifting exploits in the payoff period that helped Talk ‘N Text gain its second win in the carry-over semis format and seventh overall in 12 games, good for third spot.

“We’re fighting for our life,” noted Alapag, who drained six of his 10 attempts from the field. “We just have to keep on fighting. We’re not going to quit.”

Import Paul Harris tallied a game-high 31 points, 17 of them coming in the first half, while Ranidel De Ocampo had 19 and Jason Castro 10 for the Tropang Texters, who were coming a convincing 108-84 win over sister team Meralco last Wednesday.

“We’re still alive and we’re still breathing but it’s still a one-miss-you-die situation for us,” noted Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes. “We’re shortening our sights and we’re focusing on going up against Rain or Shine on Monday.”

Chris Lutz posted 23 points while Danny Ildefonso added 17 for the defending champions but now-fading Boosters, who absorbed their third straight defeat that completely booted them out of contention with a 6-7 record.

After trailing 38-49 at the break, the Boosters, leaning mainly on Lutz, Ildefonso and Alex Cabagnot, fought their way back in the third canto, outscoring the Texters 34-21 to gain a precarious 72-70 into the fourth.

Both teams traded baskets until the 5-foot- Alapag fully took over in the last eight minutes.

After drilling in a trey that put the Texters back on the driver’s seat, Alapag saved a loose ball from going out of bounds, stepped on the gas and issued a perfect feed to a speeding Harris, who completed his three-point play that widened their lead to 90-84.

While the Boosters suddenly fired bricks, Alapag hit another three that put the Texters in full control with a 93-84 spread time down to just 4:28.

Earlier, the eliminated Bolts perfectly played the spoilers’ role by stunning the B-Meg Llamados 104-101.

Sol Mercado collected 30 points while import Mario West added 29 markers for Meralco, which gained its first win in the semis and fifth overall in 13 outings.

Marqus Blakely tallied 30 points while James Yap had 22 for the Llamados, who dropped their first game in the semis for an 8-4 record alongside sister team Barangay Ginebra and behind pace-setting Rain or Shine (9-3).
 
The scores:
 
First Game
 
MERALCO 104 – Mercado 30, West 29, Ross 18, Cardona 11, Taulava 9, Macapagal 3, Timberlake 2, Reyes 2.

B-MEG 101 – Blakely 30, Yap 22, Simon 13, Barroca 11, De Ocampo 11, Urbiztondo 6, Pingris 5, Villanueva 3, Reavis 0.
Quarters: 31-17, 54-43, 77-63, 104-101.
 
Second Game
 
TALK N' TEXT 103 – Harris 31, Alapag 21, De Ocampo 19, Castro 10, Fonacier 8, Williams 7, Aguilar 4, Peek 3, Reyes 0, Aban 0, Alvarez 0.

PETRON 94 – Lutz 23, Ildefonso 17, Faison 10, Santos 10, Washington 10, Cabagnot 9, Yeo 7, Lanete 4, Pena 4, Hontiveros 0.
Quarters: 28-19, 49-38, 70-72, 103-94

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