MANILA : MUSONG R. CASTILLO
Published — Monday 18 March 2013
Last update 18 March 2013 4:12 am
Mark Caguioa didn’t stay more than 10 minutes in the Philippine Sportswriters Association awards night on Saturday where he needed to pick up a very important trophy.
It seemed like he came and went to the Manila Hotel Ballroom, claiming he needed to rest to get ready for a big game against Talk ‘N Text the next night.
Caguioa seemed to have rested well, for he played his biggest game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations last night and anchored Barangay Ginebra’s finest performance here in bringing down Talk ‘N Text, 107-100, in front of more than 16,000 fans at the Araneta Coliseum.
The reigning MVP, who was also named as the PSA’s pro cager of 2012, scored 13 of his total in the third period and had four clutch points in the payoff frame as Ginebra won back-to-back games for the first time to improve to 3-5.
It was the first loss in the last three games for the Tropang Texters in a 4-4 card as Talk ‘N Text yielded the most points to a foe against the Gin Kings.
“I just told the players to play defense, I didn’t ask them to win,” Barangay Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua told reporters. “I just told them to never give up and we can get this. What we did on defense confused them.”
The loss was also the first for Talk ‘N Text since import Donnell Harvey came back to replace the ineffective Keith Benson and the Texters — after just eight games here —have now lost as many games as they did when they won the Philippine Cup this season.
Talk ‘N Text was the second straight powerhouse that Ginebra took down, with the Gin Kings also scoring an upset against San Mig Coffee last Friday.
“Being 3-5, we have to keep on winning (in the race to the playoffs),” Chua said. “At least we’re out of the cellar. The players are just proving that we can still win, bringing down those two powerhouses.”
Import Vernon Macklin scored 24 points and was an intimidating presence inside the paint and LA Tenorio finished with 20, engaging Talk ‘N Text point guard and former MVP Jimmy Alapag in an interesting offensive battle.
Alapag wound up with 23 points, shooting 13 in the fourth period as he tried gallantly to bring the Texters to victory almost by himself.
The last of Alapag’s five triples came at the 1:27 mark that had the Texters coming within 102-98, but Larry Fonacier, who finished with 16 points, took an ill-advised trey attempt in their next offensive and effectively doomed the Texters.
That Fonacier miscue eventually allowed Macklin to complete a three-point play off Ranidel De Ocampo with 35.4 ticks to go, sealing Talk ‘N Text’s loss.
The exciting Ginebra victory took all of the luster away from Alaska’s 93-85 domination of Globalport earlier in the night.
Alaska got 26 points and 18 rebounds from import Robert Dozier and double figures in scoring from two locals as the Aces didn’t show signs of missing star guard JV Casio and improved their league-leading record to 7-2.
Globalport took a sixth straight tumble and because of Ginebra and Air21 both winning their last two games, the Batang Pier are all alone in the cellar with a 2-7 card, needing to sweep their final five games to have a shot at advancing.
Former two-time MVP Willie Miller led the Batang Pier with 22 points and Gary David added 20, but Globalport trailed big early because import Walter Sharpe was hobbled with four personal fouls just 15 minutes into the game.
Sharpe would finish with just two points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.