2014 PBA Governors’ Cup: TNT and SMC return to action with separate wins!

Othyus Jeffers (top) had an auspicious debut for TNT, while
Marqus Blakely (bottom) returns to defend the crown for SMC.

First Game:
A few days after losing to the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in the 2014 Commish Cup Finals, the Texters picked up the pieces with a good win over sister team Meralco, 105-99. Import Othyus Jeffers did really well here, shooting 12/25 from the field on his way to a game-high 38 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds and getting 2 steals. The NBA D-League journeyman has one of the most impressive resumes around, and he surely didn’t disappoint in his PBA debut.

Meralco’s starters all scored in double-figures here, but the Bolts’ bench couldn’t give them a big lift. Coach Ryan Gregorio’s reserves scored a total of just 16 points, which doesn’t automatically seem bad until one compares it to TNT’s 38 bench markers. It’s a no-brainer, but the Bolts want to do well in this conference, they will need the second unit to play much much better.

Bouncing Back: 2014 Commish Cup Best Player of the Conference Jayson Castro didn’t play well in TNT’s final game of the previous conference, but he made up for it here, dropping 21 points while also handing out 6 assists, blocking 1 shot, and grabbing 3 boards. Castro was on the receiving end of some criticisms after dropping the ball in Game 4 of the Commish Cup Finals, and I’m pretty sure he’s raring to prove himself in the Govs’ Cup. 

Second Game:
Tim Cone’s Mixers began the final leg of their quest for a single-season PBA Grand Slam by beating the Barako Bull Energy Cola less than a week after annexing the Commish Cup crown, 76-66. By no means did SMC look as sharp as they did in the previous conference’s Finals, but they did enough to throttle past the dangerous Energy Cola. SMC outrebounded Barako, 56-53, and they shot 41%, which does not exactly scream “on fire,” but it was still way better than the Energy Cola’s 33% accuracy.

After a rousing debut, import Eric Wise was constrained a little bit here, scoring 25 points and 15 rebounds. He didn’t get much help from the locals, though, as only JC Intal scored in double-digits with 11 markers. The rest of Barako’s starting unit — Keith Jensen, Denok Miranda, and Dave Marcelo — combined for just (drum roll) 3 points in 63 minutes.

Simon Strong: PJ Simon continues to pour in the heat for the Mixers. THe severely underappreciated and overshadowed guard was really the only bright spot for SMC, scoring 17 points on 50% FG shooting. He didn’t do much else apart from tickling the twine, but in a game where both teams combined to shoot only 36%, Simon’s scoring punch was definitely much appreciated.

Game recaps by Rey Joble/InterAKTV:

TALK N TEXT over MERALCO, 105-99

Highly-touted import Othyus Jeffers had a sensational debut for Talk ‘N Text, finishing with 38 points and 13 rebounds.

But in the end, it was the Tropang Texters’ local star Jayson Castro who took them home for a 105-99 victory over the Meralco Bolts in the PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Just one week after losing the Commissioner’s Cup Finals, the Tropang Texters are back in their winning ways after nailing their first assignment.

“It was a good way to start the third conference. The best way to get back into the groove is to get a win today,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.

Talk ‘N Text dominated the first three quarters, behind Jeffers, who shared Most Valuable Player honors in the NBA D-League season.

“Our import only had three practices with us because of the Finals. I hope to get him better blended into the team,” added Black.

But Meralco fought back in the final period behind a more energetic performance led by import Terrence Williams. The Bolts took a five-point lead, 97-92, after five straight points from Cliff Hodge.

Castro, the Best Player of the Commissioner’s Cup decided to take over, getting a three-point play over Hodge in the next possession to cut the deficit to just a single basket. Ranidel De Ocampo tied the game a few moments later with an inside basket against Hodge.

After another empty Meralco possession, Castro hit a looping three-pointer for a 100-97 Talk ‘ Text lead with 44.3 seconds left.

Jared Dillinger cut the lead back to one with 34.9 seconds left, before Castro made two free throws off another Hodge foul for a 102-99 advantage.

The Tropang Texters forced a tough Sunday Salvacion three-point attempt in the ensuing possession, allowing Jayson Castro to ice the game with another pair of free throws.

Already, Black sees a tough campaign ahead of the Tropang Texters in the Governors’ Cup.

“We’re not head and shoulders above any team,” said Black. “I’m just trying to get as many wins as possible, then try to get it in the end.”

Meralco lost for the second time in as many games to open the tournament.

TNT 105 – Jeffers 38, De Ocampo 22, Castro 21, Carey 7, Fonacier 6, Williams 4, Alapag 3, Seigle 2, Canaleta 2, Reyes Ryan 0, Reyes Rob 0, Baclao 0.
MER 99 – Hodge 24, Williams 20, David 15, Hugnatan 12, Dillinger 12, Salvacion 6, Ildefonso 4, Bringas 2, Sena 2, Wilson 2, Timberlake 0.
QS: 26-19, 50-43, 75-72,105-99

Cliff Hodge's big game was all in vain as Meralco lost.

Jayson Castro hit some big shots to seal the win for TNT.

Othyus Jeffers debuted with aplomb for the Texters.


The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers opened their Grand Slam quest with a 76-66 victory over Barako Bull on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Mixers played their first game in the PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup less than a week after winning their third straight title. San Mig Coffee has won the Philippine Cup and the Commissioner’s Cup this season, putting the team in position to complete a rare Grand Slam.

“We certainly didn’t look like a champion team today,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, whose team shot just above 40 percent.
“We stayed in the game with our defense,” he added, alluding to how the Mixers allowed Barako Bull to make less than 33 percent of its field goal attempts.

Welcoming back reigning Best Import Marqus Blakely and Allein Maliksi, the Mixers controlled most of the game even as Barako Bull remained within striking distance.

“There’s a little bit of disruption in the rotation with Allein and Marqus coming in,” said Cone.

Blakely struggled on offense, scoring just 10 points, but he grabbed 24 rebounds, dished four assists, and blocked two shots.

Maliksi, on the other hand, scored eight points in just 15 minutes in his first taste of action since suffering a knee injury last year.

A quick 9-2 run to bridge the third and fourth quarters allowed Barako Bull to tie the game, 60-all, with still 8:05 remaining.

But Justin Melton responded with a three-pointer that sparked a 14-4 run to put the game away for the Mixers.

Peter June Simon was huge down the stretch for San Mig Coffee, scoring 10 of his 17 points in the final period.

Notorious for being a slow starting team, Cone noted the urgency of a good beginning in a short tournament.

“Hope we get early wins, finish in the top four, then get to the playoffs,” said Cone.

Import Eric Wise had 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead Barako Bull, which dropped its first game after winning its opener against Meralco.

SMC 76 – Simon 17, Blakely 10, Yap 9, Maliksi 8, Pingris 8, Devance 6, Sangalang 6, Melton 5, Barroca 3, Mallari 2, Reavis 2.
BAR 66 – Wise 25, Intal 11, Fortuna 7, Lastimosa 6, Najorda 4, Miller 4, Deutchman 3, Jensen 2, Isip 2, Thiele 1, Miranda 1, Wilson 0, Marcelo 0.
QS: 25-21, 39-34, 58-54, 76-66

JC Intal was the only local who did well for Barako Bull.

Marqus Blakely struggled from the field, but was solid on the boards.

PJ Simon continues to be consistently effective for SMC.

Images by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5.

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