San Mig Coffee import (2nd left) is heavily defended by the Talk N Text Tropang Texters in their PBA Commissioners Cup game. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com.
MANILA, Philippines – The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters clinched the top seed in the PBA Commissioners Cup after beating the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers, 81-75, Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Import Richard Howell had 25 points and 21 rebounds, as TNT sailed to its seventh consecutive win of the conference while handing the Mixers a second straight defeat.
With the win, the Texters have assured themselves of a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
“We’re here where we wanted to be,” said TNT head coach Norman Black in PBA.ph.
But Black still has his concerns even though his team can lose its final two games and still keep the No. 1 seed.
“The only thing is that it’s too early. Now is the hard part,” said Black. “We have to continue the momentum as we go to the next round.”
“We have to keep practicing. We have to make sure to keep the guys healthy and sharp,” he added.
The Texters were coming off a week-long break but barely showed rust against San Mig Coffee, using a 25-point second quarter to seize control of the game.
After leading by only four points, 19-15, at the end of the opening frame, TNT outscored San Mig Coffee, 25-11, in the second to take a 44-26 lead going into the halftime break.
The Mixers, champions of the past two conferences, made a rally in the final period but timely buckets from Howell, Jayson Castro and Larry Fonacier quashed their challenge.
Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo both scored 13 points for TNT. Import James Mays had 27 points and 12 rebounds for San Mig, but rookie Ian Sangalang was the only local in double-digits with 15 points.
TALK N TEXT 81 – Howell 25, De Ocampo 13, Castro 13, Fonacier 8, Canaleta 6, Reyes 5, Alapag 5, Williams 4, Carey 2, Baclao 0.
SAN MIG COFFEE 75 – Mays 27, Sangalang 15, Mallari 9, Simon 9, Yap 5, Barroca 4, Pingris 3, Melton 3, De Ocampo 0, Devance 0.
Quarter-scoring: 19-15, 44-26, 59-46, 81-75.