TALK ‘N TEXT OUTLASTS BURGER KING IN 2 OTs

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20090514

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TALK ‘N TEXT OUTLASTS BURGER KING IN 2 OTs




Tropang Texters boost bid for semis slot

IT TOOK one great play from one sterling player for Talk N Text to earn one win it so direly wanted.

Jimmy Alapag's offensive rebound and touch pass powered the Tropang Texters to a 135-129 double overtime win over Burger King Wednesday in the Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The hard-earned win, TNT's seventh in 13 games, kept alive its hopes of snaring an automatic semifinals berth and also provided a nice welcome for new import Rashad Bell, who wound up with 35 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in his first game back.

“I told the team, in a tournament with a lot of twists and turns and a lot of distractions, we finally had the import we wanted from the start so let's make this count,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes of their original choice as reinforcement who flew non-stop from Budapest, Hungary, arrived Tuesday morning and promptly replaced Gary Forbes.

“We made a very painful decision because Gary is a very nice guy and player,” continued Reyes. “Pero ang tagal namin siyang (Bell) hinintay at nandito na, alangan namang hindi namin gamitin. It proved to be a good decision because we won.”

Alapag made it happen, collaring the long rebound from a Mark Cardona miss and promptly issuing the assist to Bell underneath for a 133-129 lead, only 12.1 seconds to go in the game.

Those heroics capped the former Rookie of the Year's 18-point, 10-assist, seven-rebound performance in a game that took three hours to finish.

Cardona, who wound up with 25 points, drained a triple that put TNT ahead for good, 129-127, before Alapag's charities made it a four-point game in the last 49.5 seconds.

It marked the fourth straight time the Bert Lina-owned franchise lost a double overtime game and this one hurts more since Burger King was looking to win its last two eliminations games to have a good chance at an outright semis seat or at least a top four finish that carries with it a twice-to-beat advantage in the wildcard phase.

Now, the Whoppers tote the same win-loss slate as their latest conqueror, notwithstanding the 27 points, 15 rebounds and six assists of Shawn Daniels, plus the minimum 10 points each chipped in by six locals, led by Gary David's 23.

The possibility of landing a No. 2 placing and an automatic semis seat tugs at Reyes, but he is realistic enough to acknowledge they could settle for a slot merely in the middle of the pack and a knockout pairing in the wildcard.

“Anything can happen, pero hindi na namin tinitingnan ang No. 2. But things can happen, who knows?” he posed.

Things could have been much bleaker for TN.

In two consecutive plays reminiscent of his heroics in BK's 107-105 OT win over San Miguel Beer last Sunday, Arwind Santos translated his block on Bell into a fastbreak layup for a 109-all count in the last 11 seconds of regulation.

That count stood when Bell missed a jumper in the crowded lane.

It was also Bell who forged the second overtime, draining a long triple for a 119-all tie that stood when both teams missed their respective tries inside the last 37.8 seconds of the first extension, including a trey by Santos.

Bell, who averaged 38 points for Coca-Cola in the 2007 edition of the tournament, showed he is very capable of at least approximating that with nine points in the first quarter alone.

Burger King, however, had as many weapons and displayed that most during a searing charge that staked it to a 47-31 lead, 7:57 before halftime.

Then TNT started flexing its muscles, applying a stifling defense while unloading a 23-6 surge that tied it all up at 53 at the half.

In that stretch, the Whoppers made only two of nine field tries, muffed four charity tries and committed five turnovers.

That seemed to establish the trend for the remainder of the game.

Although the Whoppers unleashed an 18-8 run to surge ahead, 71-64, the Texters came charging back and even took an 82-80 lead into the final canto. (NCo)

The scores:

Talk ‘N Tex 135 – Bell 35, Cardona 25, Alapag 18, Dillinger 17, de Ocampo R. 12, Carey 8, Castro 6, Peek 4, Ritualo 3.

Burger King 129 – Daniels 27, David 23, Santos 14, Yee 13, Alonzo 12, Rodriguez 11, Arboleda 10, Cruz 7, Quinahan 6, Belga 4, Billones 2. Aban 0.

Quarters: 24-34, 53-53, 82-80, 109-109, 119-119, 135-129.


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