12 March 2011

Bolts 106, Texters 109

Bolts vs Texters
Talk 'N Text head coach Chot Reyes considered their grind out game against Meralco a great learning experience.

Paul Harris scored 13 of his 32 points in the third quarter and the Tropang Texters held off a fiery charge by the Meralco Bolts down the stretch for a 109-106 victory Friday (11 March 2011) in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Jimmy Alapag had 19 points and Ryan Reyes added 14 for the Tropang Texters, who picked up their third consecutive victory and tied the Alaska Aces (3-1) at third place.

But Reyes was in no way satisfied with his import.

"We almost paid dearly for my stubbornness thinking that (Paul) Harris could play defense," offered the Talk 'N Text coach who took the blame for their scrambling finish.

Champ Oguchi, the guy Harris guarded, debuted with a season-high 43 points including successive 3-pointers in the closing minute of the game that enabled the Bolts to cut a 10-point deficit to two.

During the post-game interview, Reyes didn’t not conceal his disappointment toward his import and readily admitted they were just lucky to escape with the win.

"Our import played 35 minutes but got only six rebounds. That's unacceptable for an import," said Reyes, adding he would keep Harris away from scorers.

Kelly Williams cornered 10 rebounds but he was the only Tropang Texter active off the boards as Meralco outrebounded Talk 'N Text, 57-40.

Reyes said the Tropang Texters are a terrible defensive team at the moment. It showed in the fourth quarter as Meralco outscored them, 33-20.

Solomon Mercado and Gabby Espinas each scored 18 points for the Bolts, who remained winless in four games and dangerously nearing elimination.

Oguchi shot 6 for 10 in the first quarter and had six straight points late in the period as the Bolts built a 26-14 advantage.

But he managed just two free throws in the second period and the Bolts slowly lost their grip on the lead because nobody took over the scoring chores.

Meralco held a 43-35 lead before Talk 'N Text went on a 10-2 run to tie at 45-45 on a 3-pointer by Jimmy Alapag.

After Meralco regained a four-point lead on successive baskets by Reynel Hugnatan and Mercado, the Tropang Texters closed the quarter with eight straight points for 53-49 halftime lead that stood till the end.

Harris got his offensive flow in the third quarter as Talk 'N Text slowly ripped the game apart. The Tropang Texters took their biggest lead at 86-65 on a charity split by Harris with 2:05 left in the period. (DBC)

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