MANILA, Philippines - Talk n Text kept its unbeaten run under coach Norman Black, making a great recovery from a third-quarter meltdown and weathering San Mig Coffee’s storm at the finish for an 85-74 win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo last night.
The Texters got their act together again in the fourth quarter after squandering a 17-point first-half spread, salvaging a fourth straight win against a rival that they handed a first loss in three starts.
Larry Fonacier scattered 18 points in the first half and, after a third-quarter dry spell, regained his touch, firing away clutch baskets in the payoff period.
The former Ateneo stalwart finished with a personal season best of 26 points that went with seven rebounds.
“Coach Norman keeps on telling us we have to get better in each practice and each game. And it so happened I played my best tonight,” said Fonacier.
“With the game getting tight, we fed on coach Norman’s experience. We relied on his experience, knowing well that he’s a winner in every level,” Fonacier also said.
Earlier, Governors Cup title-holder Rain or Shine stamped its class on newcomer Globalport, fashioning out a 94-83 win to move up to second place at 3-1.
Jervy Cruz asserted his strength at the paint for a double-double game and JR Quinahan also imposed his inside presence towards the end as the Elasto Painters handed Globalport a fourth loss in five starts.
“Finishing the game in a solid manner is part of maturity we gained in the last finals,” said RoS coach Yeng Guiao after the game.
Cruz, the 2006 UAAP MVP awardee from Santo Tomas, dished out his best game in the season thus far, logging game-highs of 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Quinahan had essential help at endgame, scoring eight of the Elasto Painters’ last 16 points.
Cruz went 6-of-10 from the field and 2-of-2 from the stripe for 14 points in the opening half.
The 6-foot-3 forward also grabbed seven rebounds as the Elasto Painters took the first quarter at 27-19 before settling for a 46-42 lead at the turn.
Meanwhile, with their scrambling 1-3 start, Petron Blaze coach Olsen Racela is feeling the heat, but remains positive they can rise to the challenge once they get their act together.
Their challenge is not to get deeper down the bottom of the chart as the Boosters tangle with the Barangay Ginebra Kings at the resumption of play at the MOA Arena in Pasay City tonight.
They play at 6:30 p.m. with both trying to snap a two-game losing streak.
Meralco and Air21 play in the other game at 4:15 p.m. with both also looking to get into the winning track.
The Bolts return to the MOA Arena four days after suffering a double whammy in the Pasay playing venue.
They lost valuable belongings in a heist in their dugout during the first half of their game against the Globalport Batang Pier. Then they subsequently yielded the match on a sorry endgame meltdown.
Meralco team manager Butch Antonio is disappointed the MOA Arena management hasn’t given them a feedback on the incident.
“It’s been three days since the incident and still no report. It took our Lord Jesus Christ to rise from the dead. Don’t want to be accused of blasphemy but your group can learn a thing or two from this example,” said Antonio in a text message to MOA Arena business unit head Arnel Gonzales.
The MOA Arena management earlier expressed readiness to iron things out.
“We’re willing to sort out whatever needs to be sorted out particularly that of the players and particularly that of Meralco which is a corporate partner. We have to make sure that our relationship sticks and would be better off after this untoward incident,” said Gonzales.
“It’s also a shock to us that this kind of an incident happened. After five months of operations, this is the most unfortunate things that has ever happened in the arena,” Gonzales also said.
“We are used to these kinds of challenges. We just have to execute, play as a team and help each other out,” said Racela on their slump.
They were not able to do these things in their loses to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the San Mig Coffee Mixers and the Alaska Milk Aces.
The result was their 1-3 start in the season where they set out among the favorites with their talent-laden roster.
Adding to their woes was the sidelining of Cebuano behemoth Junmar Fajardo.
“Coming off back-to-back defeats and without our starting center, it’s tough playing a tough team in Ginebra,” said Racela.
On Friday, Petron was terribly hurt by a former player in an 86-88 defeat.
Dondon Hontiveros poured 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Aces came charging back from a 12-point deficit to nail a second straight victory.
No longer concealing his disappointment was Arwind Santos.
“Kulang kami sa puso,” Santos rued.