MANILA, Philippines - Talk n Text, the league’s best three-point shooting team, used that lethal weapon to gun down Rain or Shine, 99-91, and sweep its way to the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Talk n Text tied the franchise’s longest streak and became the first team in 34 years to enter the finals undefeated.
Behind torrid shooting from beyond the arc, the Tropang Texters pulled away early and quelled a series of Rain or Shine rallies to complete a sweet sweep of the best-of-five semifinal series and make their 15th finals riding a perfect run of 13 won games from the elimination round.
With their early finals passage, the Texters will enjoy a couple of days of rest before pursuing a seventh PBA crown against either San Mig Coffee or Air21.
After splitting their first two games, the Mixers and the Express slug it out for the pivotal 2-1 lead in their side of Final Four battle at 5 p.m. today also at the Big Dome.
It could be a rematch of the Commissioner’s Cup finale between Talk n Text and San Mig Coffee (B-Meg) in 2012.
“We are the top three-point shooting team, and we relied on that,” said Talk n Text coach Norman Black after the game where they sprayed Rain or Shine with an impressive 14-of-28 three-pointers.
Already badly handicapped by injuries, the Elasto Painters, worse, struggled with a 2-of-23 clip from the three-point land.
Still, the E-Painters refused to give up with Wayne Chism enduring a sprained left MCL (medial collateral ligament) to provide RoS the needed inside presence.
Though practically playing on one foot, Chism collected 31 points.
“It was an extremely hard fought game as both teams played very well. We would like to give Chism a lot of credit for playing tonight despite the injury. He helped make them stay competitive,” said Black.
The Texters, however, showed they wanted it more.
“Coming into this game, we really wanted to finish this,” said Black. “Three more to go, and that’s the goal right now to win the championship.”
Ryan Reyes, Larry Fonacier, Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro came out firing, combining for six triples as Talk n Text started with a 14-2 salvo and opened 16-point spreads in the second quarter at 37-21 and 40-24.
And each time the E-Painters would come threateningly close, the TnT gunners would hit timely three-pointers to quash the threat.
Reyes converted all his first four three-point attempts and finished with 15 points on 5-of-8 clip.
Richard Howell put in his usual numbers with 26 points and 19 rebounds with De Ocampo also making 15 markers and Castro and Fonacier 10 apiece,
The Texters never trailed and sat on a 55-45 cushion at the turn.
The Texters rained down eight three-pointers on the E-Painters in the opening half, including buzzer-beaters by Kelly Williams and De Ocampo to close each of the first two periods.
RoS made just one converted by TY Tang after the E-Painters had missed their first seven attempts.
But despite injuries and poor shooting, the E-Painters stayed right behind the Texters.
At 41-47, the E-Painters had a chance to come closer but Gabe Norwood muffed a three-point try then Jimmy Alapag knocked in three charities after being fouled by Chism while taking a trey.
With Rain or Shine starting with an all-Filipino five, the Texters quickly asserted themselves, starting with a 14-2 attack before wrapping up the first period at 30-17.
Talk n Text 99 – Howell 26, De Ocampo 15, Reyes 15, Castro 10, Fonacier 10, Williams 7, Seigle 6, Canaleta 6, Alapag 3, Carey 1, Aban 0.
Rain or Shine 91 – Chism 31, Almazan 13, Norwood 12, Chan 11, Rodriguez 9, Uyloan 5, Tang 5, Nuyles 2, Teng 2, Belga 1, Arana 0, Lee 0.
Quarterscores: 30-17, 55-45, 80-64, 99-91