MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion Talk N’ Text sealed a finals showdown with B-Meg Derby Ace by disposing of the hardworking Barako Bull in their 5-game semis series.
The Texters battled past the Energy’s brute style of play to fashion out a 101-90 win in Game 5.
“This was a really, really tough game. We have no illusions, we knew Barako is a good team. They're very deep and they have a lot of veterans. They know how to win and how to play this game,” said Talk N’ Text coach Chot Reyes, who will be making his 15th finals appearance.
“In the end, I said we just have to focus on what we do well and that's to play through the physicality and play Talk N' Text basketball,” he added.
By that, Reyes meant wearing down Barako by using Talk N’ Text’s run-and-gun game.
Texters import Donnell Harvey led all scorers with 29 points, connecting on 12 of his 19 attempts from the field.
He also hauled down 14 rebounds, helping Talk N’ Text into its 5th-straight PBA finals appearance.
Harvey had to work extra hard against the Energy’s tight and sometimes physical defensive tactics in order to steer the Texters to the finals.
“It's playoffs basketball baby... they play hard, but I'm still here,” he said.
Ranidel de Ocampo and Jared Dillinger also stepped up their game as Barako clipped wingmen Jimmy Alapag and Larry Fonacier.
De Ocampo eventually finished with 18 points, while Dillinger had 14.
Gabe Freeman top scored Barako with 22 points and received additional firepower from Danny Seigle who tallied 21 points.
But the efforts of other Energy locals came up short.
Former MVP Willie Miller only had 6 points while Don Allado scored 12.
Talk N’ Text will start its finals series against B-Meg on Monday.
Reyes is expected to map out plans on beating the Llamados, who are led my multi-titled coach Tim Cone.
“We're good friends [with Cone] but in the finals, on the playing court, we're the bitterest of rivals. In the end it's really gonna be about the players, not Cone and me, but about the players.”
Talk N’ Text 101 - Harvey 29, De Ocampo 18, Dillinger 14, Castro 14, Williams 9, Peek 7, Alapag 6, Fonacier 3, Reyes 1, Alvarez 0.
Barako 90 - Freeman 22, Seigle 21, Tubid 18, Allado 12, Miller 6, Salvador 4, Najorda 3, Arboleda 2, Pena 2, Weinstein 0, Pennisi 0.
Quarters: 25-27, 56-47, 77-74, 101-90