Talk N Text Tropang Texters took a gamble to bring in 6’5 import Tony Mitchell, and that gamble paid off as he powers his team to victory.
Tony Mitchell, the player who could be the yardstick for imports in the third conference, churned out a sterling effort carrying Talk n Text to the threshold of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finale.
Tony Mitchell lived up to his NBA D-League reputation as a scorer, exploding for 29 points as the Texters took the decisive 2-1 lead over the Barangay Ginebra Kings in their best-of-five semifinals showdown with an emphatic 98-80 victory before a record crowd of over 23,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
The surprise sub to seven-foot import Jerome Jordan, the 6-foot-5 Tony Mitchell showcased great quickness and flair, making an impact as the Texters scored a follow-up on their 85-79 win in Game Two.
The Texters take their first shot at clinching a finals berth in Game Four set Friday in the same venue.
“We’re in a very interesting situation. We really didn’t know what to expect going to this game as we brought in Tony Mitchell. Fortunately, he played well,” said TnT coach Norman Black.
“But the series is far from over. They’d (the Kings had) not seen Tony before and had no idea how to prepare against him. But they’ve seen him once and they will surely be ready in the next game,” Black added.
“On the other side, I take my hats off to our local players. They face much adversity. Most of our key guys play for the national team, and we’ve lost not just regular guys to injuries. But they continue to fight and win games,” Black also said.
Black and his players worked well as a team in this game, breaking away with a key run in the third quarter and never relenting to the finish.
Larry Fonacier played his best game in a while, rifling in three triples and finishing with 20 points. Then there were Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo doing their jobs.
Black rotated his men well and methodically defended against Vernon Macklin whom they held to 17 points.
Despite a small frontline, the Texters lorded it over the boards, 65-46.
Black said Tony Mitchell was a big key.
“He’s no idea how the game is played in the PBA. But he came out and he reminds me of Tony Harris. He played well and he can be a lot better as the series goes on,” said Black of their new import, the second leading scorer and slam dunk champ in the last NBA D-League season.
Mitchell showed his stuffs right in the opening quarter, firing nine points and grabbing three rebounds.
By the half, Mitchell had 14 markers and seven boards, but the Kings dished out a more balanced game, carrying a 48-43 lead into the third quarter.
But the Texters returned from the halftime huddle smoking and blazed to victory. (SB)
TALK ‘N TEXT 98 – Mitchell 29, Fonacier 20, Castro 15, De Ocampo 15, Peek 6, Raymundo 5, Reyes 4, Ferriols 3, Aban 1, Gamalinda 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Alvarez 0, Carey 0.
BARANGAY GINEBRA 80 – Macklin 17, Raymundo 17, Tenorio 10, Ellis 9, Helterbrand 9, Baracael 6, Labagala 4, Wilson 4, Urbiztondo 2, Maierhofer 2, Taha 0, Espiritu 0, Mamaril 0.
Quarterscores: 23-21, 43-48, 71-59, 98-80