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Thursday, April 28, 2011



TALK N Text coach Chot Reyes had described Game 1 of his team’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship duel with Barangay Ginebra as an opening salvo.

Turned out he meant barrage.

The Tropang Texters fired on practically all cylinders and had little trouble in fashioning a runaway 102-83 win Wednesday for a flying headstart in the best-of-seven series at the Araneta Coliseum.

Paul Harris scored gamehighs of 28 points and 15 rebounds and had ample support from the TNT locals in a blistering second half breakaway that, right there, left little doubt to the eventual outcome.

When Ryan Reyes drained his second triple of the fourth period to give the Texters a 90-68 bulge and Kelly Williams maintained it with a layup for a 94-72 count, the remaining 3:05 was spent looking forward to Game 2 on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Texters coach Chot Reyes maintained they just pounced on a Kings team that may still be feeling the effects of a four-game semifinals duel with Smart-Gilas that ended only last Sunday. They, on the other hand, had a week-long respite after sweeping Air21 in just three games.

“Coming to this game we wanted to capitalize on the fact we had a longer rest than they had,” said Reyes. “We knew if we keep the pressure on we would get a break in the end.”

The fact his team lost a 12-point lead in the last 4:49 of the second period, according to Reyes, also helped.

“In the blink of an eye, it was gone so it was a good wake up call for us,” he related. “We cannot let our guard down against this team. That’s why when we had another good lead in second half, we made sure we kept that lead.

“We capitalized on our depth.”

Ryan Reyes added 19 points while Jason Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo typified TNT’s 39-point contribution from its bench by combining for 25.

Mark Caguioa finished with 23 points to pace Ginebra, which drew only 10 points from Nate Brumfield, just one over his second lowest output in the conference.

Kings coach Jong Uichico said fatigue must not be used by his team as an excuse. “Whatever the reason is, it’s a loss and we just have to find a way,” said Uichico. “If we’re tired, we have to find a way to get more effort.”

Things fully turned around for TNT in the third period after it outscored Ginebra, 27-12, and while agreeing it was a crucial factor, Reyes and Uichico had different views on how it came to be.

“I think our defense (in the period) was the key,” said Reyes.

“They did change the way they played. We knew it was coming, we just couldn’t get the job done,” averred Uichico.

Emotions were already running high by then, with Uichico getting a technical for entering the court and Castro also getting whistled for a second motion on Billy Mamaril in the fourth.

Caguioa also had to sit it out for three minutes starting at the last 1:27 mark of the third period after incurring a flagrant foul-penalty 1 for tripping Castro.

The ending was a far cry from the way the game started, although TNT gave a glimpse of things to come by racing to a 44-32 lead in the second quarter on the strength of a 13-6 surge anchored on Reyes, Larry Fonacier and Harris.

The Ginebra diehards, however, had big reason to cheer and be very optimistic when Hatfield and Brumfield led a fightback, which Caguioa capped with eight straight points to seize the upper hand, 47-46, at the half.

Rob Labagala lent a big hand in that rally as he orchestrated an up-tempo game while coming up with two steals and as many assists, the last of each resulting in Caguioa’s buzzer-beating triple.

Jimmy Alapag struggled in the early goings, with Mike Cortez scoring all of his nine points against the TNT playmaker and helping Ginebra take a 16-6 lead.

Then Harris and Castro led a comeback that made it 22-20, and gave momentum back on the side of theTexters.

The scores:

Talk N' Text 102 - Harris 28, Reyes 19, Castro 15, De Ocampo 10, Williams 9, Fonacier 9, Carey 4, Peek 4, Alapag 3, Oreta 1, Aban 0, Lao.

Ginebra 83 - Caguioa 23, Brumfield 10, Intal 10, Hatfield 10, Cortez 9, Miller 6, Menk 5, Tubid 4, Mamaril 4, Wilson J. 2, Labagala 0, Aquino 0, De Ocampo 0.

Quarters: 22-20, 46-47, 73-59, 102-83


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