SLR 89, TnT 102

On: 12 April 2010

SLR vs TnT

Talk 'N Text finally had its first back-to-back wins in the 2010 PBA Fiesta Conference.

It was, however, something head coach Chot Reyes wasn't really excited about. Rather, it was the way the Tropang Texters are now slowly coming together as a team.

Macmac Cardona and Ranidel de Ocampo combined for nearly half of Talk 'N Text's output, and Jason Castro came off the bench to spark a decisive first-half breakaway and the Tropang Texters beat Sta. Lucia Realty 102-89 on 11 April 2010 in the league’s first-ever game at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Cardona scored 23 points and De Ocampo had 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Castro shot 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 at the free-throw line for 15 points in the opening half alone as Talk ‘N Text, playing without the injured Ali Peek, picked up its third win as against two losses.

“I think more than the two straight wins was the way we’re playing,” said Reyes. “I like the way we are coming together. They’re getting to know how to play with Shawn (Daniels).”

Daniels saw action for merely 22 minutes because of foul trouble, contributing only six points – fewest for an import this conference -- and seven rebounds. Still, it was not the kind Talk ‘N Text should be upset about.

Good thing Castro was in attack mode.

Castro elevated the Tropang Texters into an offensive level the Realtors couldn't stop. He scored 10 points in the second quarter and helped Talk 'N Text erect the largest margin in the game at 22 points (58-36), before the 2008-09 Philippine Cup champions settled for a 63-43 halftime lead.

That output in the first half was the highest by any team in the conference, and the lead a formidable investment to hold off a blistering rally by Sta. Lucia, which came to within 85-78, in the fourth quarter.

"It was a very courageous stand by Sta. Lucia," said Reyes. "I'’m just glad that we had a big cushion in the first half and able to withstand the foul trouble of Daniels."

Anthony Johnson scored 27 points and pulled down 16 rebounds and Kelly Williams had his breakout game for the season-ending tournament with 20 points and eight rebounds to lead the Realtors even as Gabby Espinas added 12 points.

Already the worst offensive, rebounding, and assisting team, Sta. Lucia further stepped into unfamiliar territory by suffering its worst start under head coach Boyet Fernandez with the Realtors’ fourth defeat in five games.

Fernandez had his erstwhile worst start during the time he became head coach in the 2007-08 Fiesta Conference, when the Realtors lost three of their first four games.

And unless the Realtors change their acts, the record may not be snapped that soon.

"Wala kaming transition defense. We're not executing well. We're not a strong team, but we are a fighting team. We are not a true offensive team, but we are a true defensive team," said Fernandez.

Fernandez even took a shot at the man who the Realtors got in exchange for Joseph Yeo – Bonbon Custodio.

"I'm waiting for him (to play well)," said Fernandez. "I told him that he should be ready every time he comes off the bench.”

Custodio played for only four minutes and only had one statistic – a foul – across his name in the game against Talk 'N Text.

A big factor that went against the Realtors, too, was the early foul trouble of Ryan Reyes. The fearless guard had four fouls in the first half alone and was whistled for his fifth in the third period. (ZM)

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