(MENAFN - Arab News) Pushed to the wall by a severely undermanned foe talk 'n text on wednesday night responded in a way champions do to keep its perfect conference going while moving within another win of nailing a title series slot in the pba commissioner's cup.
ranidel de ocampo jimmy alapag and jason castro responding when their import never got going because of fouls keyed a 94-87 victory over rain or shine for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-three final four series at the cuneta astrodome in pasay.
de ocampo scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter coming to the rescue of the tropang texters when they fell behind early in the quarter against a rain or shine team that fought doggedly hard despite losing import wayne chism to an injury midway through the second period.
and after de ocampo did his damage castro was there to help preserve the win the texters' 12th straight this conference that matched the franchise's longest winning run.
alapag on the other hand orchestrated the team offense to great effect finding the open man and creating shots for his teammates.
import richard howell didn't have a good outing at all. burdened with fouls for most of the night the talk 'n text import left the floor for good with still over four minutes left after picking up his last foul.
'it's not that easy beating a team playing all-filipino" talk 'n text coach norman black who is seeking to win his second title for the texters said. 'but we gutted it out and that's what's most important.
'we will try to finish this on friday (in game 3) and move on to the next round"e continued. 'i give a lot of credit to rain or shine for not giving up."
rain or shine took the floor already without three key locals in chris tiu jr quinahan and jervy cruz before losing chism to a knee injury suffered in a bad landing during a rebound tussle with howell.
there were no reports yet on the extent of the injury but it is deemed serious as chism wasn't able to return.
and with game 3 scheduled friday night the road has gotten smoother for the texters to make a return trip to the finals and gun for their first championship since ruling the philippine cup last season.
cruz will be out at least two weeks because of a sprained foot while tiu and quinahan are out for the rest of the tournament because of knee injuries.
meanwhile giant-killing air21 goes for a similar 2-0 lead over san mig coffee thursday when both square off again at the araneta coliseum in cubao.
the express have been the overachievers of the tournament thus far and coach franz pumaren and his boys said that they aren't satisfied with what they have done so far and would definitely work hard to go all the way.
air21 is unbeaten in the playoffs scoring two impressive wins over no. 2 san miguel beer that got the express this far.
the texters trailed 65-69 before de ocampo scored eight in a spurt that had talk 'n text taking a 78-73 lead going into the final 8:33.
rain or shine wouldn't go away as beau belga scored five straight points that had the painters forging the game's last tie at 79 before the texters executed better the rest of the way to pull out the win.