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PBA semis: Talk 'N Text enters All-Filipino title series

January 26, 2009 12:03am

MANILA, Philippines – Mark Cardona scattered a series-high 34 points, Jimmy Alapag scored 27 and Harvey Carey pulled down a personal conference-best 22 rebounds as Talk ‘N Text survived San Miguel Beer, 116-115, in overtime to advance into the best-of-7 championships of the KFC Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the jampacked Cuneta Astrodome.

The Tropang Texters only poured in five points in extra period, but it was enough to finally put an end to the Beermen’s 6-0 winning streak against them in any series. At the same time, the pulsating triumph slammed shut the door on San Miguel’s bid to become the first ball club to emerge from the wild card and advance to the Finals.

“The boys just played with all their heart, defended with all they’ve got. I have no secrets. This team just doesn’t quit," said TNT coach Chot Reyes, who exactly a year ago yesterday began talks with team owner Manny V. Pangilinan and board representative Ricky Vargas over taking over as the team’s new head mentor.

The Tropang Texters played without big man Yancy de Ocampo, who served out his one-game suspension for committing a flagrant foul 2 against Danny Seigle in Game Five. Worse, they lost Ranidel de Ocampo, who was ejected with 7:02 left in the second quarter on a flagrant foul 2 on Lordy Tugade after trying to defend against the SMB forward while taking a three-point shot.

Those drawbacks didn’t stop them from coming out with their best effort in the series, and that didn’t break their hearts nor shatter their poise, especially when the Beermen rallied from a 17-point, 77-60 deficit in the third quarter.

Most importantly, those didn’t rip their confidence going into overtime.

What Talk ‘N Text did right in the extra period was to take care of the boards. It had 10 rebounds, six of them offensive, to San Miguel’s five.

Regulation ended at 111-111.

San Miguel actually had taken the lead in overtime at 115-113 when Dondon Hontiveros converted on two free throws and Jay Washington sank a follow-up as against two free throws by Jason Castro.

But defying the ear-splitting jeers from the crowd, Cardona drained Talk ‘N Text’s lone field goal in overtime – a triple with 1:41 left to play as the Tropang Texters seized command with a 116-115 advantage.

That count unexpectedly ended up as the final score. Lordy Tugade missed a three-point attempt and Washington bungled a point-blank attempt, his shot partly deflected by Ali Peek.

Talk ‘N Text was able to waste away the last 30 seconds of the game because it was the more ferocious unit trying to grab the rebound.

Peek put up a shot before Carey pulled down the offensive rebound. Then, Jason Castro drove strong to the basket but missed. However, Carey was again there to try to follow-up the shot. He missed, though, but the Tropang Texters got the ball back and simply ran out the remaining time.

As the final buzzer sounded, Cardona clutched the ball and repeatedly saluted the crowd.
– GMANews.TV
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