FINALS: Powerade Tigers 1 - 3 Talk N Text Tropang Texters
Injuries seem to not bother Talk ‘N Text after all.

Despite missing its key players in a crucial game, the Tropang Texters continued its onslaught in the 2011-2012 PBA Philippine Cup, as guard Jason Castro lifted Talk ‘N Text to a 106-104 overtime victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Saturday at the Xavier University Gym in Cagayan de Oro.

Castro came up with a near triple-double, exploding for 21 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, including the game-winning basket with 1.8 seconds left in overtime to lead the defending champions to their sixth straight victory and grab the solo lead in the team standings with an 8-1 record.
Center Ranidel De Ocampo led the Tropang Texters in scoring with 27 points, while Kelly Williams and Japeth Aguilar chipped in 12 markers apiece to help Talk ‘N Text, which has been missing the services of guards Jimmy Alapag, Ryan Reyes, forward Aaron Aban and center Ali Peek due to injuries.

After trailing for most of the game, Talk ‘N Text almost finished the game without even more key players, as De Ocampo was brought out of the game due to cramps at the 3:19 mark of the fourth period, while Castro hurt his knee due to a bad fall after scoring a layup with just 1:04 left in the same quarter.

Both came back immediately to the game, but they figured in a crucial Talk ‘N Text turnover, when Castro passed the ball to De Ocampo which he lost in the sideline with just 37 seconds left. That gave Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao a chance to draw up a play for rookie guard Paul Lee, who fired a jumper to give the Painters 9a 3-91 lead with 16.7 seconds left in the final canto.

But Castro proved to be too much for the Rain or Shine defense as he drove and scored over the outstretched arms of three defenders to tie the game at 93-all. Castro had the chance to score the game-winning basket after Araña missed his layup on the other end, but the former finals Most Valuable Player missed his pull-up jumper to bring the game into overtime.

Talk ‘N Text led, 104-101, with 8.6 seconds left in the extra period, but guard Jeff Chan, who missed three straight layups which could have given the Elasto Painters a comfortable lead in the overtime, buried a triple coming off a timeout to tie the game at 104-all with six seconds remaining.

Given the chance again to score the game-winner for the Tropang Texters, Castro attacked the basket and scored a layup off the glass to seal the victory for Talk ‘N Text.

Six Rain or Shine players scored in double digits, led by Jervy Cruz who poured in 16 points, but these were not enough for the Elasto Painters to seize the top spot in the team standings.

The Tropang Texters jumped the gun at the start of the game, blasting a 10-2 run capped off by an alley-oop play by Williams and Castro to grab a 13-4 lead early in the first quarter.

But Rain or Shine suddenly waxed hot, as they answered a 26-7 run punctuated by Ronjay Buenafe’s triple to propel the Elasto Painters to a 30-24 lead after the first quarter.

Since then, Rain or Shine tightened its grip on their lead throughout the three quarters, having an answer to every Talk ‘N Text run, until they crumbled late in the game to suffer their second straight loss of the tournament and fall to a 7-3 record, tying Petron BLaze in the second spot.

TALK N’ TEXT 106 – De Ocampo 27, Castro 21, Williams 12, Aguilar 12, Dillinger 11, Carey 9, Fonacier 7, Gamalinda 4,Weinstein 3, Raymundo 0, Alvarez 0, Lao 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 104 – Cruz 16, Arana 15, Belga 13, Chan 13, Buenafe 12, Lee 11, Rodriguez 9, Quinahan 8, Norwood 4, Ibanes 3, Matias 0.

Quarters: 24-30, 45-48, 70-74, 93, 106-104

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