14 July 2011

Bolts 91, Texters 93

Bolts vs Texters
In a game that turned to a virtual all-Filipino duel, Jayson Castro rose up at the finish, completing a Talk n Text come-from-behind win over Meralco that sealed the Tropang Texters' entry into the PBA Governors Cup semifinals Wednesday night (13 July 2011) at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Castro struggled most of the way but knocked in his shots when it counted the most as the Tropang Texters rallied past the Bolts, 93-91, into the semifinals of the season-ending tourney.

Castro scored on a reversed lay-up off Sol Mercado to break a 91-all standoff then pumped in a 15-footer against the same defender to win it for the grandslam-seeking Texters.

Talk n Text assured itself of a seat in the next round with a 5-2 win-loss record, the same with Petron Blaze which closes out its elims stint versus Powerade Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Texters have the Air21 Express as final elims assignment Sunday also at the Big Dome.

Qualifiers carry over their elims records in the semifinals.

Meralco, slowing down after its import Tim Pickett got injured midway through the second quarter, reeled with a fourth loss in its last five games, dropping to sixth place in a tie with B-Meg at 3-4.

"We don't have a business winning this game because Meralco outplayed and outhustled us and coach Ryan (Gregorio) outcoached me. We just got lucky that their import got injured," said Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes.

Pickett went down with a suspected hamstring injury with over five minutes left in the second quarter.

He started the game with back-to-back triples and had made 11 points when he suffered the injury.

Despite his early ouster, the Bolts put up a tough stand only to falter in the homestretch. They went scoreless in the last 2:27 of play.

The Tropang Texters, after a long chase, had their first taste of the lead at 86-85 on two free throws by Larry Fonacier with 3:51 left to play.

Another pair of charities from Fonacier later followed by Castro’s driving lay-up off Mercado tied the count at 91-all with 46 seconds left.

A missed jumper by Mark Isip in the ensuing play opened the opportunity for the Tropang Texters to steal the game.

In a timeout, coach Chot Reyes mapped out a play for Castro who didn't disappoint.

The highly dependable guard from Philippine Christian U played the clock first before using a pick from Ali Peek to get a little opening for the game-winning shot.

With 2.5 seconds left, Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio plotted a make-or-break play for Sol Mercado but the Bolts failed to execute.

Renren Ritualo could only throw a prayer of a shot that went so short at the buzzer.

Fonacier, Ranidel de Ocampo, Castro, Ali Peek and Ryan Reyes all put in double-digit outputs to pickup the slack in the absence of Jimmy Alapag. Maurice Baker was non-factor with only eight. (SB)

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