Returning combo guard Jayson Castro led Talk ‘N Text to a 99-92 victory over Blackwater on Friday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum. The win was TNT’s second this season.
Castro, who missed Talk ‘N Text’s first two games, posted 11 of his 20 points in the second half including three important shots in the payoff period on top of five rebounds and five assists. The Tropang Texters now hold a 2-1 win-loss record.
“We still have so many things to improve. It’s good that I played tonight,” Castro, who shot 11-of-13 in the foul line, told The Manila Times. “My legs wobbled a little bit but I’m just fine. Blackwater is a competitive team now.”
Big man Moala Tautuaa finished with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the field while power forward Ranidel De Ocampo had 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Larry Fonacier notched 11 points also for Talk ‘N Text.
“Before the game, we talked about what we wanted to build moving forward,” assistant coach Josh Reyes told reporters in the postgame interview. “We did not start the way we wanted to, we only adjusted.
Matt Rosser-Ganuelas and forward Jeth Troy Rosario added eight points each for Talk ‘N Text.
“We need to come out every time with the right things in mind, intensity-wise, energy-wise and pride-wise. Not the prettiest game for us but this will serve as a learning experience for us,” he added. “We had good stops in the end.
After struggling in the first quarter, the Tropang Texters bounced back behind Castro and Tautuaa. TNT’s 21-30 first quarter deficit turned into a 50-46 halftime lead. The Tropang Texters extended its lead to 76-67 entering the payoff canto.
Mac Belo, who was named the Player of the Week, and forward Reil Cervantes joined forces to narrow the deficit to a single digit down to the last five minutes.
But Castro and De Ocampo foiled their attempt by scoring the crucial baskets that extended Talk ‘N Text’s gap to nine points in the last two-minute mark.
The Tropang Texters were never threatened from thereon.
Nash Racela, whose coaching stint in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines just ended on Wednesday is yet to see action as official Talk ‘N Text head coach.
“There are still a lot of things to improve on our part. We just have to keep pushing ourselves to play our best,” said Belo, who led the Elite with 21 points and nine rebounds in this game. Kyle Pascual and Nards Pinto contributed 14 points apiece for Blackwater.
Blackwater now carries a 2-1 win-loss record.