End of the road for NLEX, Blackwater: Texters, Painters duel for semis
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - December 26, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Talk N Text squeezed past NLEX while Rain or Shine barely beat Blackwater last night in a pair of hardly-fought matches heading to the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena.

Talk N Text relied on Troy Rosario, Danny Seigle and Larry Fonacier in the final period to eke out a 90-88 win over NLEX, a team that has given the Tropang Texters problems this conference.

Rain or Shine, on the other hand, shook off Blackwater down the stretch to escape with a 95-90 victory, earning the right to face Talk N Text in a knockout match tomorrow.

The winner between Talk N Text and Rain or Shine will advance to a best-of-seven semis showdown with defending champion San Miguel Beer.  

Ginebra San Miguel, coming off a magical come-from-behind win over Star, collides with GlobalPort at 5 p.m. today, the winner also moving on to a best-of-seven clash with Alaska Milk.

“NLEX is really tough. They beat us in the eliminations and we barely squeaked past them tonight,” said Talk N Text coach Jong Uichico.

“We need to play better as a team and hopefully we can reach the semis,” he added.

Rain or Shine had some difficulty pulling off the victory, leading by as many as 15 points in the third quarter but needing a quick spurt in the fourth to nail it.

Coach Yeng Guiao was not satisfied with the outcome.

“If we want to make it to the semis we need to play better than we did today. It was a struggle just to shake off Blackwater,” he said.

“We prepared hard for this game. But I didn’t see the kind of effort I expected especially on defense. I’m not really happy with the win,” Guiao added.

Rain or Shine couldn’t find a way to stop Blackwater’s Carlo Lastimosa, who faked and drove to the basket all night and got away with a game-high 35 points.

Lastimosa almost succeeded with 16 points in the third and 15 in the fourth quarter, his layup tying the game for the sixth and last time at 75.

The Elasto Painters countered with a 7-2 run and led at 91-83 after a highlight alley-oop dunk by Gabe Norwood off a pass by Jeff Chan with 2:54 to go.

Chan led Rain or Shine with 17 points.

Guiao said Lastimosa, who broke the 30-point barrier for the third time this conference, simply failed to draw support from his teammates.

“In the end, the effort of one guy was not enough. We couldn’t stop him. But one guy cannot beat a whole team,” said Guiao, up on his feet the entire game.

Lastimosa only stopped scoring when he fouled out with 51.5 seconds left, just three points shy of matching his PBA career-high 38 points.

ACIRC ALASKA MILK BUT I CARLO LASTIMOSA COACH YENG GUIAO DANNY SEIGLE AND LARRY FONACIER ELASTO PAINTERS GABE NORWOOD GUIAO LASTIMOSA TALK N TEXT
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