MANILA: GRACE B. CASTILLO
Published — Saturday 12 January 2013
Last update 11 January 2013 11:59 pm
Talk ‘N Text fans in the stands were treated to yellow shirts just before tipoff of Game 2 last night with the simple logo that said: “Defense wins championships.” The Tropang Texters then did their thing at the Mall of Asia Arena floor and botched up Rain or Shine’s top offensive players on the way to an 89-81 victory and a 2-0 lead in their PBA Philippine Cup title series.
“As a team, we played good defense,” Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black said. “That’s what we have to do to be able to win this series. I think our defense really held up.” Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro, meanwhile, provided the offense for the Texters, shooting a combined 45 markers with De Ocampo scoring Rain or Shine’s final six points to cap his highest-scoring output of the season.
De Ocampo finished with 24 points that went with nine rebounds and four assists, with his eight first quarter points fueling another hot start by the Texters.
History is now speaking kindly of the Texters as only five of 32 teams that went on to take 2-0 leads in a title series didn’t go all the way.
But Black is not about to be dragged into saying anything that would make his players lose the edge that they are playing with.
“I’m going up against Yeng Guiao, I wouldn’t be talking anything about any sweep,” Black said. “It’s nice that you’re up, 2-0, but we still need to get four wins. And that’s a long way to go as far as I am concerned.” Talk ‘N Text was the last team that took a 2-0 lead to win, doing it against Powerade in the Finals of this tournament last season.
It was also the Texters who were the last to rally from an 0-2 deficit to win a title series, pulling it off against Alaska in the 2008-2009 Philippine Cup Finals, which was the first title of Talk ‘N Text in the Chot Reyes era.
And if the Texters could win again in Game 3 slated tomorrow at the Araneta Coliseum, then even Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao is acknowledging the fact that it would be close to impossible for them.
“(An) 0-2 (deficit) is still manageable,” Guiao said after giving his wards a long dressing down in the locker room. “But if we don’t win on Sunday (in Game 3), then it is almost lights out for us.” Guiao, who is in his third all-Filipino championship series looking to win his first, did not hide the fact that defense did win it for the Texters.
“We are still struggling with our shooting percentages,” Guiao, whose last all-Filipino Finals loss came at the hands of Purefoods, 2-4, in 2006, said. “Shooting wise, we can’t rhythm going, we just couldn’t make big plays.
“But we are not losing any hope.” JR Quinahan had 16 points and Paul Lee 15 for the Painters, but Lee had a critical error in the fourth quarter that led to one of De Ocampo’s final baskets that sealed the deal for the Texters.
Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan, two personalities that helped the Painters get this far, couldn’t deliver in the stretch, grounded for the second straight outing.
Meanwhile, the Philippines, because of the volatile peace and order situation in Lebanon, was awarded the rights to host the 27th Fiba-Asia Championship from August 1-11.
At stake in the tournament would be three slots to the World Basketball Championships that will be held in Madrid, Spain, in 2014.