Talk n Text gave Powerade a free ride into the quarterfinals as it dropped the ax on Alaska Milk, 100-97, in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday.
The Tropang Texters pulled away in the third quarter, building a lead big enough to cushion the Aces’ fiery fourth-quarter chase.
The Tropa snapped a two-game losing skein but coach Chot Reyes hardly felt relief.
“I sincerely feel that we lost the game. We deserved to lose the game. We’re really a poor team right now — no spirit, no guts, no defense, no nothing,” said Reyes.
“We’re lucky it’s Alaska. If it were Petron or Ginebra, no way we could have won the game,” Reyes added.
The Texters hung in there on top with a 9-3 win-loss card but Reyes doubted they can stay there at the end of the elimination phase.
“We’re on top on the strength of the old team. But what we have now is a different team. The strength of the old team is chemistry and depth. We don’t have now,” said Reyes.
“We’re just a bad team now and we can only pray that our players heal faster,” Reyes added. “If we find some miracle to beat Petron and Ginebra, good. But the way we’re playing, I think we’ve no chance.”
Alaska’s own prayers were not heard.
The Aces didn’t survive the crippled Texters and eventually moved out of the race for the quarterfinals.
They failed to make it past the elimination round for the first time since the 2009 Fiesta Conference and only the third time since 1999.
Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams and Harvey Carey put in huge numbers as the Texters delivered the knockout punch on the Aces.
Alapag went 6-of-7 from beyond the arc and finished with 21 points that went with eight assists, Williams chipped in 20 points while Carey contributed 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Japeth Aguilar came through with a conference-high seven blocks and added 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The Texters took a 75-57 lead at the close of the third but the Aces mounted a rally in the payoff period, coming to within two at 97-99.
The Aces got an opportunity to force extension play when Carey split his charities in the ensuing sequence with 18 ticks left to play.
Alaska’s, LA Tenorio muffed a good look from the three-point area.
Cyrus Baguio grabbed the loose ball but the Aces were no longer able to take another attempt. (SB)
TALK N’ TEXT 100 – Alapag 21, Williams 20, Carey 18, Fonacier 16, Aguilar 10, Gamalinda 7, Castro 7, Alvarez 1, Raymundo 0, Weinstein 0, Lao 0.
ALASKA 97 – Tenorio 25, Baguio 22, Baracael 15, Reyes 12, Salamat 9, Thoss 8, Eman 4, Custodio 2, Bugia 0.
Quarters: 27-22, 49-42, 75-57, 100-97