MANILA, Philippines - (2nd UPDATE) It was sweet redemption for the Petron Blaze Boosters as they defeated the Talk N Text Tropang Texters in Game 7 of the PBA Governors Cup Finals, 85-73, taking home the title by winning the series, 4 games to 3.
A series that many thought would be easy for the Texters instead went all the way to a do-or-die Game 7, where both teams left everything on the court.
With the victory, Petron derailed Talk N Text's hopes of achieving a historic grand slam. They also avenged their loss against TNT in last conference's championship series.
It was the 19th championship for the franchise.
"Masasabi ko na yung gusto kong sabihin," Coach Ato Agustin said during the awarding ceremony. "Nung pinagbigyan kami, nagkamali po sila."
"Sabi nga, puro naka-tsamba kami. Naka-tsamba po kami ng apat na beses," he added.
Arwind Santos was named Finals MVP after averaging 17 points and 12.3 rebounds for the series. He had 16 points and 16 rebounds in Game 7.
Santos sealed the win for Petron with 37.5 seconds to go, when scored on a dunk after Talk N Text turned the ball over.
"Kami na ang pinakamasayang tao sa mundo," Santos said after the game.
Petron won the championship despite losing Jay Washington, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Lordy Tugade and Joseph Yeo, who were all on the injured list.
The Texters were unable to get their offensive going, and also committed several defensive breakdowns that led to easy lay-ups for Petron.
Talk N Text had to finish the game without spitfire guard Jason Castro. Castro, who was already suffering from an MCL injury, sprained his ankle in the 2nd period, and left the game for good in the 3rd quarter.
Meanwhile, import Anthony Grundy bounced back from a horrible Game 6, leading the Blazers in scoring with 26 points, while also playing defense on TNT counterpart Maurice Baker.
"This is my first (championship) overseas, and it's special to me," Grundy said. "Nobody believed but us, and I'm just proud of this team."
With the victory, Coach Ato Agustin became the 2nd coach to win a championship in his rookie season.
Kelly Williams was able to keep Talk N Text in the game in the third period, as he scored 9 points in the quarter, most of which came from lay-ups.
Season MVP Jimmy Alapag also gave the Texters a lift with a buzzer beating 3-pointer to end the period.
But Petron still led by double-digits, 64-53, going into the final quarter.
The Blazers started the game on fire from the floor, with Denok Miranda scoring the first 7 points for Petron.
Grundy immediately made his presence felt with a 3-pointer that gave Petron an early 5-point lead at 10-5.
Ranidel De Ocampo kept the Texters in the game with timely baskets midway through the opening period.
Momentum shifted the Texters' way in the 2nd quarter, when Jojo Duncil was sent off the court after incurring a flagrant foul against Maurice Baker.
Duncil had stuck out his foot while Baker was taking a shot.
De Ocampo had a chance to get Petron's lead down to 4 at the end of the half, but his lay-up was soundly rejected by Santos.
Petron led 40-34 going into the break.
Adding to the Texters' 1st half woes were the 4 fouls called against Baker, forcing Reyes to go to his bench for a stopper against Grundy.
TNT's scorers, meanwhile, had trouble connecting from the field, with Larry Fonacier and Kelly Williams both unable to find the bottom of the net on their scoring attempts.
Miranda had 11 first half points to lead Petron, while de Ocampo had 15 points for TNT.