Talk N Text wins 2011 Commissioner's Cup

Two down... One to go! 

It was a very, very good fight.

Talk N Text as expected went for the kill but Barangay Ginebra gave the Tropang Texters a run for their money.

Or load.


The Tropang Texters got their second straight title when they outsmarted the Kings in overtime, to capture the Commissioner’s Cup Title, 99 to 96.

Fact is, the Kings almost won the game and had the chance to extend the series to a make or break Game 7. At the stretch of the third quarter, Paul Harris was on the bench and the lead ballooned as high as 16 for the Kings. It seems the Kings has found superstars in the making in John Wilson and Rob Labagala, two unlikely performers considering the depth of Ginebra’s backcourt. Labagala is the spitfire that brings out the key offensive and defensive plays for the Kings in a timely manner while John Wilson has taken over the SG/SF spot because he can defend on Harris and at the same time can score. I’m going to have another article about Wilson because fact is, I am a fan of how he fakes the ball and still manages to score it. Anyway, the lead’s invulnerability started to crumble when Chot Reyes’ wards began to work it. Jimmy Alapag, Jason Castro, and Ranidel de Ocampo crushed the Kings with their offense while Harris, Ali Peek, and Kelly Williams were instrumental in the team’s defense.

In the pivotal part of the fourth quarter, Chot Reyes and Jong Uichico played chess. There were a lot of plays the Kings would have done without. I usually hate Jong Uichico but he did a somewhat masterful job here. I’ll have the somewhat part because he failed to sustain the lead. When Uichico took out Labagala to send in Mike Cortez, the momentum shifted to the Texters. Fact is though, Cortez needs to play more since he is Jong’s best PG. Uichico also extended the minutes of John Wilson, Eric Menk, Billy Mamaril, and JC Intal but in some ways that double-edged. Sure, Menk and Intal hit a couple of big shots but Uichico should have gone with their main guns like Rudy Hatfield and Mark Caguioa. What Uichico did was sort of double-edged because while the bench mob delivered, the starters should be the ones finishing the game for the Kings. I don’t believe Ronald Tubid is that much of a liability and I still think Yancy de Ocampo can be helpful in this series.

But like I said, I won’t fault Uichico here. Before the series started, TNT had the better roster. TNT matched the Gins in the backcourt especially with Jayjay Helterbrand gone and they dominated the Kings because of their better frontcourt especially with Enrico Villanueva on hiatus. However, Coach Jong made use of his roster to its full potential but fact is Chot had better arsenal and the Tropang Texters had the better breaks.

Imagine if Mike Cortez didn’t get trapped which forced him to call their last timeout in regulation. Uichico could have had time to design a better play. The ball wouldn’t have gotten stuck with Wilson and Labagala. Hell, the Kings could have used that timeout to insert Willie Miller, who played a wicked first half, and Cortez.

Rob Labagala shouldn’t be the person taking the winning shot. He scored a lot of treys but at this point, the Kings needs to have their best bet clocking in the shots. Also he was a hit or miss player since he also had his share of turnovers for the squad.

Nate Brumfield played insane and you can never question the guy for playing how he did. He was everywhere in the court, even extending his defensive work to face off against Jimmy Alapag and Jason Castro. In the first half, Brumfield had 11 points and 14 rebounds. However, Brumfield grew tired and in overtime, his presence logged out via cramps. Again Paul Harris played big in the second half. Reyes rested Harris in that third quarter. In that span the Kings’ lead grew to 16 but looking back, that gamble paid off. Harris was helpful as a threat which made his teammates double team free.

Jason Castro never scored ten points and less in the series. That was great because if you don’t know Castro, he has been Finals MVP material since his college (PCU) and PBL days (Harbour Centre). Pitting him alongside Jimmy Alapag makes the TNT backcourt extremely dangerous. There was a time in the last part of regulation where Chot would have Castro and Alapag on offense and then have Castro or Alapag plus Ryan Reyes on defense. That move was effective and at one point had Uichico mimicking the same strategy with Cortez or Lagabala interchanging. Castro played great defense against Caguioa and even if Miller exploded in the first half and Wilson in the second, the loss of The Spark was seriously valuable.

Jimmy Alapag is certainly the Best Player of the Conference with the way he shone in this game. He was hitting the shots and more importantly feeding the plays to his teammates. One of his best plays was when he broke down the Ginebra defense to tie the match at the dying seconds. Alapag is instrumental in this win that the only way you can trump him is by cloning him.

That's why it was fitting that Castro and Alapag become co-Finals MVP for this series. 

Ranidel de Ocampo played like an oversized shooting guard and it worked wonders. De Ocampo was scoring in all cylinders. At one point Brumfield was defending Ranidel at the top of the key which is away from his comfort zone. Uichico then placed Cortez on Ranidel whenever Ranidel is checking out the 3-point zone.

Ali Peek during the shower interview (poor Jinno Rufino) said that this was the first time he has ever won a playoff series against Eric Menk. Peek played well in that game where Menk turned from hero to goat when he forced an ill-fated isolation play against two defenders. Actually I cringe when Uichico designed that play because he is a fan of that play and it never really worked well for him (the way they were eliminated during the 2010-11 Philippine Cup comes to mind). This was no different especially since it would have been great if Menk had kickout options but all of his teammates are on the other side of the play.

Larry Fonacier, Reyes, and Harvey Carey played well for the Tropang Texters who also missed the services of swingman Jared Dillinger.

The last plays were for the Kings to lose. There was a time where they were looking for go-to-guys but to no avail. The final play had the Kings looking at the ball as if it was a timebomb and in the end Caguioa had to throw a prayer and even if the Kings got the ball, they couldn’t put up a decent shot.

Talk N Text continued their quest to make their season their grand slam season. Obviously Chot Reyes has made this team a winning unit and it seems that they are prepared to reap the rewards.

Congratulations to the Tropang Texters for playing one helluva series!

Game over!


Post a Comment