TALK N Text dealt Blackwater its first loss after a thrilling 99-92 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Texters chalked their second straight victory for a 2-1 card identical to the Elite.
The victory also marked the return of Jayson Castro, who sizzled with 20 points while Moala Tautuaa also contributed 20 points for Talk N Text.
It was also a fitting follow-up to its thrilling 108-103 win over Ginebra in their last outing.
“Before the game, we talked about what we wanted to build moving forward,” said acting head coach Josh Reyes. “We didn’t start the way we wanted to, we only adjusted.”
Reyes added that they need to be more focused on their next games if they want to improve.
“We need to come out every time with the right things in mind,” said Reyes. “Intensity-wise, energy-wise and pride-wise.”
“This will serve as a learning experience for us,” he added.
Talk N Text also weathered the 21-point production of Blackwater rookie Mac Belo, who steered his squad to two straight wins until last night.
The Elite actually started off strong with Belo and Denok Miranda taking charge on offense for a 30-21 advantage.
The Blur capped an 11-0 run in the second period behind a series of fastbreak plays and Tautuaa’s offensive streak that caught the Elite off-guard, as the Texters erected a 50-46 advantage at the end of the first half.
Tautuaa tallied 15 points on perfect 6-for-6 shooting from the field. Castro had nine points, four rebounds and five assists in the first half.
A different story unfolded in the third, as Belo tried to get Blackwater back in the game, but Talk N Text gained headway with its perimeter shooting from Ranidel de Ocampo and Larry Fonacier for a 76-67 count at the end of the third.
The Texters made it a double-digit lead after De Ocampo hit a technical free throw and scored off a drive while Ryan Reyes added two free throws, 88-75.
But Belo and Art Dela Cruz worked to bring Blackwater back in it. Belo scored six straight Elite points to make it a seven-point game, 92-85, while Dela Cruz and Pascual both made back-to-back baskets for a 94-89 count.
Castro knocked down two free throws to make it 96-89 with 1:14 remaining but Tautuaa made a poor decision in running down Pinto on a three-pointer as he was called for a flagrant foul with about a minute to go.
Pinto made two of his three attempts, 96-91, but Belo turned the ball over on their extra possession. TNT failed to score on the other end and Pinto again earned a trip to the line, but again missed one of his attempts, though the Elite came to within four, 96-92.
But De Ocampo sealed the game with three free throws to protect the TNT lead in the endgame.
Meanwhile, the PBA was quick to crack the whip on erring players in the first two weeks of Season 42, slapping fines amounting to P38,000 on nine players and a coach.
NLEX slotman Enrico Villanueva bore the brunt, incurring a P15,000 penalty for three violations in their game against Alaska: two flagrant foul 1 calls, each on Carl Bryan Cruz and Marion Magat, and ‘sarcastic and disrespectful on-court behavior.’
Road Warriors teammate Eman Monfort was fined P10,000 for committing an injurious contact on Cruz.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao, hands-down the league’s leader in fines incurred, got his first penalty this season after being slapped P1,000 for his technical foul for using profane language, while star big man Asi Taulava was also fined the same amount for violating the dress code.
Talk N Text (99) -- Tautuaa 20, Castro 20, De Ocampo 15, Fonacier 11, Rosario 8, Rosser 8, Carey 5, Reyes 5, Williams 4, Pogoy 3, Hernandez 0, Rosales 0, Golla 0.
Blackwater (92) -- Belo 21, K. Pascual 14, Pinto 14, Dela Cruz 12, Cervantes 10, Miranda 5, Ababou 4, Aguilar 4, Buenafe 4, Sena 4, Banal 0, R. Pascual 0, Forrester 0.
Quarterscores: 21-30, 50-46, 76-67, 99-92.