MANILA, Philippines – Talk ‘N Text hammered out a 105-100 win against Air21 to gain a ticket to the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Thursday.
The Texters found themselves bound in a tight game but broke free when the Express made crucial errors down the stretch, according to the league’s website.
|Air21's Mark Isip (C) harasses Talk 'N Text's Ranidel de Ocampo (R) during Thursday's PBA Philippine Cup. The Texters carved out a 105-100 victory over the Express. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
Nino Canaleta had the chance to break the 98-all deadlock but his baseline jumper hit the side of the board with 27 seconds left.
The ensuing play allowed Talk ‘N Text’s Ranidel de Ocampo to sink in a booming triple that gave the Texters a 101-98 lead with 21 ticks remaining.
The scores were already 103-100 for the Texters when Bonbon Custodio had the chance to tie the game with a triple.
But Custodio opted for a left-handed drive instead, losing the ball in the process.
Jimmy Alapag closed out the game at the stripe for the Texters’ 8th straight semifinals appearance.
Mike Cortez scored 21 points to go with his season-high 18 assists, while Canaleta had a game-high 25 points.
But their efforts went in vain because of Express’ costly mistakes.
Ryan Reyes and Larry Fonacier topscored for the Texters with 16 points apiece.
“They were well-prepared, really defended us very well today,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black of Air21.
“As I keep saying, they are much better than what their record indicates. But at the same time, we’re happy to move on, take another step to get back to the championship.”