FINALS: Powerade Tigers 1 - 3 Talk N Text Tropang Texters
Talk ‘N Text showcased a brave performance after stopping Powerade, 95-86, to grab a share of the lead of the 2011 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Already without Ali Peek after the shooting incident last Monday, the Tropang Texters lost another key player, Ryan Reyes, early in the fourth due to a suspected torn ACL, but leaned on their fighting heart to complete the come-from-behind victory.

It was the fourth straight win for Talk ‘N Text, which now joins Rain or Shine for the top spot of the tournament with a 6-1 win-loss mark.

But the victory came at a price, as Reyes has been added to the growing list of injured Tropang Texters. Jimmy Alapag (foot), Aaron Aban (ACL), Rich Alvarez (left hand) and Peek all missed the game due to injuries.

“The heart of this team is huge. Tremendous, tremendous fighting heart,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes, who drew superb games from Japeth Aguilar, Jason Castro and Jared Dillinger to silence the pesky Tigers.

Aguilar had 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks, Dillinger added 18 points, including those two back-breaking three-pointers late in the game, while Castro was consistent all-game long and netted with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists.

“This win is for you Ali,” said an emotional Aguilar, who played 37 minutes and did a great job in manning the paint. “Walang makakapalit sa ginagawa ni Ali for the team.”

It was a sorry loss for the Tigers, whose record dropped to 3-5. Powerade was poised to pull off the upset after taking a 64-54 lead with 5:32 remaining in the third quarter.

But the Texters unloaded a 17-2 blast to end the period with a 71-66 lead.

The momentum was halted when Ryan Reyes’ left knee was accidentally hit by Doug Kramer after falling on the floor. The 6-foot-1 Talk ‘N Text guard grimaced in pain and did not return to the game.

“It was a suspected ACL [tear], hopefully MCL lang. He’ll undergo MRI but it does not look good,” said Reyes.

Powerade took that as an opportunity to reclaim the lead at 73-71, and the game was see-saw affair since.

After Gary David’s jumper to cut the Talk ‘N Text lead to one, 87-86, Dillinger capped a decisive 8-0 blast with back-to-back three-pointers to seal the emotional win, with under a minute left.

“During timeout when we were down by 10, I told the team how are we gonna visit Ali if we lose this game this way,” said Reyes.

“I went to JD (Dillinger) I told him, ‘You sleep on Ali’s room tonight. How will you sleep in Ali’s room tonight if we’re losing?’ Luckily he responded hitting those three-points.”

Rookie Marcio Lassiter led Powerade with 24 points, 18 came in the first half. David added 21.

The scores:

TALK ‘N TEXT 95 – Aguilar 21, Dillinger 18, Castro 12, Williams 12, Carey 10, Reyes 9, Fonacier 9, De Ocampo 4, Raymundo 0, Oreta 0, Membrere 0, Lao 0.

POWERADE 86 – Lassiter 24, David 21, Kramer 10, Casio 8, Lingganay 7, Antonio 6, Vanlandingham 5, Anthony 5, Crisano 0.

Quarters: 22-13, 40-43, 71-66, 95-86


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