2011-2012 PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals: And Then There Were Two

The Powerade Tigers whoop it up as they explode into the
PBA Philippine Cup Finals. Their opponents?
The deeply stacked TNT Tropang Texters.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)

Powerade’s long wait is over.

The Tigers worked as one cohesive unit in hurdling the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their seventh and deciding semifinal game Wednesday to barge into the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

JV Casio scored 25 points to lead a balanced attack by Powerade, which gathered momentum in the two middle quarters before tapering off a bit at the finish.

Still, the Tigers had managed to build up a cushion that proved enough to withstand the E- Painters' desperate charge at the finish and realize their first championship stint under the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola International banner.

The win was actually secured with still just under two minutes remaining, but it was only when the final buzzer sounded that the Tigers really whooped it up at midcourt, hugging or body-bumping each other.

Then known as Coca-Cola, the franchise last won a title through the 2003 Reinforced Conference, two years before bolting the San Miguel Corporation group.

The loss relegated Rain or Shine to fourth, duplicating its best finish since joining the league in 2006. That could have been much higher if not for Powerade's bunch of gritty players, who, at least in Wednesday's game, emphatically showed their time is now.

Gary David capped a 24-point game with a 15-foot jumper that made it a 105-96 game after back-to-back triples by Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood made it a seven point game. Marcio Lassiter added 17 points, but it was the pair of Doug Kramer and Celino Cruz, whom Perasol singled out as absent following a 98-112 loss in Game 6 last Sunday, who stepped up the most by combining for 22 points. Kramer also had a game-high 15 rebounds.

Casio was the middle of it all, sustaining the attack and continuing to do so despite his hamstring tightening up with still a good eight minutes left. He went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

JR Quinahan's 16 points and 7 boards led the E-Painters, who drew at least 10 points from six others. But their collective production came too few and far-between, allowing the Tigers to steadily pull away as early as the second quarter.

POW 107—Casio 25, David 24, Lassiter 17, Kramer 12, Cruz 10, Antonio 10, Anthony 5, Adducul 4, Vanlandingham 0, Crisano 0.
ROS 98 – Quinahan 16, Lee 14, Chan 14, Norwood 13, Buenafe 12, Matias 10, Belga 10, Cruz 6, Rodriguez 2, Arana 1, Uyloan 0, Ibanes 0.
QS: 22-18; 52-39; 84-65; 107-98

Doug Kramer, the underrated big man from Ateneo, has become
a consistent contributor for coach Bo Perasol's Tigers.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)
Jeff Chan and the Painters match their best finish ever
in a tournament -- fourth place.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)
Gary David will now show off his skills on the
PBA's biggest stage -- the Philippine Cup Finals.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)

Leaving the dugout for the game, coach Chot Reyes’ final words to his team were: “Let’s come back in a couple of hours and be ready for Powerade.”

Nights earlier when they were pushed by their foes to the brink, Reyes and his chargers just had eye-to-eye contacts, assuring one another that they still had the chance. The Talk n Text Tropang Texters worked hard for everything to happen, and they’re boarding a flight to Davao Thursday for an unlikely titular showdown with the Powerade Tigers.

The Texters squeezed out a win over the Petron Blaze Boosters Wednesday night to complete a dramatic fightback from the jaws of defeat and get a shot at back-to-back PBA Philippine Cup Championships.

A jam-packed crowd at the Cuneta Astrodome stood witness as Talk n Text  distinguished itself as only the third team -- after Barangay Ginebra and Purefoods -- in league history to complete a come back from a 1-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

Jason Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Jimmy Alapag and Ali Peek delivered the goods as the Texters outfought the Boosters in what’s easily one the closest series in years.

Castro, De Ocampo and Alapag combined for 11 three-pointers and a total of 54 points while Peek added 13 points and 11 rebounds -- seven coming off the offensive board.

The best-of-seven series went the full distance with neither team winning by more than four in each game.

The Texters went up by five at 92-87 with 4:24 left to play but never scored again. The Boosters charged to within one, 91-92, but missed an attempt to go ahead.

The Texters, with Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro in the firing end, made a decisive charge in the third period, wiping out six-point deficit and carrying an eight-point lead into the payoff quarter.

The multi-titled Talk n Text bench chieftain said they beat Petron, but they don’t have no reason to celebrate yet as they still have a job to do. In the Finals, Reyes will be up against the team he led to two championships before moving over to San Miguel Beer then Talk n Text.

TNT 92 – Castro 21, De Ocampo 19, Alapag 14, Peek 13, Aguilar 6, Williams 6, Fonacier 5, Reyes 3, Dillinger 2, Carey 2, Alvarez 1, Gamalinda 0.
PBB 91 – Lutz 23, Ildefonso 16, Yeo 14, Santos 12, Miranda 11, Cabagnot 8, Reyes 7, BAclao 0, Tugade 0.
QS: 19-28; 51-57; 81-73; 92-91

Jayson Castro's 21 enabled the Texters to ward
off the challenge posed by Danny Ildefonso's Boosters.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/InterAKTV.com)
Rob Reyes and the rest of Petron ended up
falling by the wayside after one of the closest
7-game series in PBA history.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)
Ranidel De Ocampo shot well to help TNT get back
in the game and, eventually conquer Petron.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/InterAKTV.com)

Source: Game recap was compressed and compiled from PBA.ph
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