Texters take series opener behind Rosario heroics

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Talk N’ Text’s Kelly Williams (No. 21) dunks the ball against Alaska’s Tony Dela Cruz (No. 35) and Sonny Thoss during the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.  CZAR DANCEL

Talk N’ Text’s Kelly Williams (No. 21) dunks the ball against Alaska’s Tony Dela Cruz (No. 35) and Sonny Thoss during the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. CZAR DANCEL

Rookie Jeth Troy Rosario played his best game so far as a pro, leading Talk ‘N Text to an exciting 106-99 win over Alaska in Game 1 of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup best-of-three quarterfinal round at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

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Rosario, who only averaged 9.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in the elimination round, stepped up big time in the playoff round, scoring a career-high 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting in the field including seven treys and seven rebounds to lead the Tropang Texters.

“Coach Jong (Uichico) gave me confidence in this game and I’m really happy to step up,” said the former National University’s 6-foot-7 Rosario, who was drafted second overall by the Mahindra Enforcers in the rookie draft before being dealt to Talk ‘N Text in the off season.

Rosario scored 12 points in the payoff period including the crucial baskets down the stretch to give Talk ‘N Text a one-game advantage of reaching the semifinals. The defending champion Tropang Texters could enter in the semifinals if they beat the Aces in Game 2 on Wednesday.

“You cannot count them (Alaska) out, you can’t relax when you’re facing an Alaska team even when you are up,” said Tropang Texters mentor Jong Uichico during the post-game interview. “It’s good that Troy [Rosario] made some big shots late in the game.” Import David Simon provided the Tropang Texters with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting in the field plus 14 rebounds and two steals, while Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo registered a double-double each.

Castro piled up 17 points along with 12 assists and two steals, while De Ocampo contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds.

After a 27-all deadlock at the end of first quarter, Talk ‘N Text outscored Alaska 30-17 in the second frame providing them a 57-44 cushion at halftime. They maintained their aggression early in the second half establishing the Tropang Texters with 81-72 lead.

Alaska mounted a comeback in the final period, but Rosario foiled the Aces’ effort in the last two-minute mark to seal Talk ‘N Text’s victory.

Alaska import Robert Dozier posted 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting in the field along with six rebounds, while Calvin Abueva had 18 points and eight rebounds to lead the Alaska.

In the second game, Rain or Shine posted an 88-84 win over Barangay Ginebra to take a 1-0 lead in their own quarterfinal series.

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