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Philippine Basketball Association

Game 3: Fully-loaded Texters outplay Gin Kings to take 2-1 lead

May 1, 2011 8:31pm

Its streak halted following a loss in Game 2, Talk N Text shook it off quickly with a rejuvenated performance in Game 3 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven Finals series on Sunday at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The Tropang Texters outplayed the Ginebra Gin Kings, 104-88.

The Tropang Texters worked double time on Labor Day and didn’t waste time in imposing their will against a Gin Kings squad which surprised them Friday night.

Both teams barely got a rest as they had to fly to this nature-loving city, home to the scenic Underground River, one of the candidates for the Seven Wonder’s of the World, on Saturday morning.

But the Tropang Texters didn’t show signs of fatigue. Not Ranidel de Ocampo and Jimmy Alapag, who displayed a shooting clinic in possibly the series’ turning point. Not Jason Castro, Harvey Carey, Kelly Williams, Ryan Reyes and import Paul Harris, who hustled and showed more effort.

And definitely not the Tropang Texters’ coaching staff, who did their homework overnight to come up with a new game plan against the Gin Kings.

De Ocampo and Alapag let their cannons loose all game long.

The 6-foot-7 forward from St. Francis of Assisi scattered 21 points to lead all scorers. He made his presence felt as early as the second period when he nailed back-to-back treys at the height of Barangay Ginebra’s rally and gave the Tropang Texters a 57-49 lead at the half.

But De Ocampo wasn’t through yet. He teamed up with Alapag and Larry Fonacier in putting away the Gin Kings. The trio combined for five triples bridging the latter stretch of the third and last four minutes of the fourth period.

Alapag’s triple in the 3:49 mark of the final quarter gave Talk N Text a sizeable 95-83 lead before Harvey Carey and Jason Castro finally took the fight out of the Gin Kings with more damaging baskets, allowing the Tropang Texters to establish their biggest lead at 18, 102-84, only 1:15 left in the match.

The Tropang Texters dictated the tempo of the match as early as the second period. They posted a 39-29, early in the second period after Castro had an easier time running around the defense of Willie Wilson and converting on a lay-up.

The Gin Kings, behind Mark Caguioa, came back.

Caguioa's baskets triggered the Gin Kings' comeback as his team leveled the count at 47-all, before De Ocampo responded for the Tropang Texters with back-to-back treys.

Import Paul Harris and Castro contributed 15 points each, Carey had 13, Alapag chipped in 11 and Ali Peek had 10 for the Tropang Texters, the only team which has not lost back-to-back games this conference.

Prior to losing Game 2, 106-108, the only setback Talk N Text suffered was during its opening game in the tournament against sister team Pilipinas-Smart Gilas, 98-103, last Feb. 25 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The only time Talk N Text lost back-to-back games this season was in Games 3 and 4 of the Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beer.

The Tropang Texters saw their 12-game winning streak snapped by the Gin Kings on Friday night, the longest streak posted by any team since Ginebra in the 2008 Fiesta Conference, which won 13 straight games.

The legendary Crispa Redmanizers still hold the longest winning streak of 19 straight wins, which they established in the 1980 All-Filipino Conference.

Despite losing Game 2, Talk N Text improved its overall winning record to 33-9 this year or a 78.5-percent winning average, overshadowing the 78-percent winning average (49-15) recorded by Crispa during the 1977 PBA season.

But more than the winning percentage, the Tropang Texters are halfway from finishing the job done and completing their first back-to-back championships, a feat which will give them a crack at the elusive Grand Slam. They now lead the series, 2-1, as they head back to Manila for Wednesday’s Game 4 at the Araneta Coliseum. - GMA News
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