San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo towers over TNT KaTropa’s Kelly Williams during Game 5 of their PBA Philippine Cup semis duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Texters go 3-to-2 over Beermen
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2017 - 11:47pm

MANILA, Philippines - TNT KaTropa leaned on its battle-scarred crew in the crunch again and the Texters outgunned the San Miguel Beermen, 101-94, in a seesawing game to move a win away from a return stint to the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.

Jason Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo and Kelly Williams scored 18 points each and combined for 23 markers in the final quarter as the Texters rebounded from their 86-97 loss in Game Four to gain the pivotal 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series.

“Our model is the San Antonio Spurs,” said TNT coach Nash Racela likening his squad with the NBA team with great title runs with old vanguards in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

“But review all the PBA lineups now and you can see that we have the most number of veterans,” Racela added.

Ryan Reyes, Larry Fonacier, Harvey Carey and Danny Seigle were other TNT vets who helped provide the push that sent the Texters to the threshold of a return stint in the all-Filipino finals.

TNT KaTropa, record holder with a Philippine Cup three-peat from 2011-13, goes for the clincher in Game Six over at the MOA Arena in Pasay City tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra and Star break the 2-2 tie in their own series at 7 p.m. tonight, also at the Pasay playing venue.

“Three-two tells us that we need one more game to advance to the finals. But it’s too far off for us to think of that. SMB was able to come back the last time,” said Racela. “I learned early in life that it’s hard to be complacent. We need to work hard for that one game.”

Game Five was a match marked by wild momentum swings with the Texters blowing away double-digit spreads in the second and third quarters before putting their act together in the fourth period.

Castro, De Ocampo and Williams took charge in the payoff period as the Texters regained control at 83-74 and held on to the finish.

The Beermen actually stayed right behind but couldn’t match the Texters’ big windup as they fouled up on the foul line and made lapses in the crunch.

They were down by just five at 82-87 when Chris Ross and June Mar Fajardo muffed five straight charities.

The scores:

TNT 101 – Castro 18, Williams 18, De Ocampo 18, Pogoy 11, Reyes 9, Rosales 8, Fonacier 7, Seigle 4, Carey 2, Tautuaa 2, Rosario 2, Rosser 0, Golla 0, Sumalinog 0.

SAN MIGUEL 94 – Santos 18, Cabagnot 17, Lassiter 16, Ross 15, Fajardo 13, Espinas 9, Reyes 4, Garcia 2, Agovida 0, Tubid 0.

Quarterscores: 24-32, 50-40, 73-69, 101-94


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