TnT tames Barako Bull, stays unbeaten

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MANILA, Philippines — Jayson Castro and Larry Fonacier, playing off the bench, played fresh at the finish as Talk n Text outlasted Barako Bull, 101-96, in a tough duel Sunday night to keep its unbeaten run in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Castro and Fonacier were major contributors in Talk n Text’s strong windup leading to a fourth win in as many games since losing their best-of-three quarterfinals matchup with San Mig Coffee in the recent Philippine Cup.

Castro paced Talk n Text with 25 points, including six in the fourth quarter, while Fonacier poured in eight of his 16 markers in the payoff period.

Richard Howell was again efficient throughout with KG Canaleta and Ranidel de Ocampo also providing lift as the Texters withstood Josh Dollard’s 33-point performance and handed the Energy Cola a third loss against a lone win.

Talk n Text coach Norman Black enjoys the view from the top in this virtual sprint of a tourney.

“It feels good to get to a good start in the tourney. It’s a short conference and it’s really important to get ahead and not play catch up in the end,” said Black.

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“In this game, we struggled a bit in the first half because they’re zoning our pick-and-roll. In the second half, we did a good job getting to our offense. Our execution became better,” Black pointed out.

The Texters erased an early 12-point deficit and completed the five-point victory by making a decisive run from an 88-86 edge in the last two minutes.

Fonacier made it a five-point game, 91-86, on a three-pointer and De Ocampo further stretched their lead to 93-86 on two charities after a crucial loose ball foul on an inbound play by Mick Pennisi.

Going down the drain with their loss was Dollard’s 33-point and 14-rebound performance.

Howell tossed in only 23 points but grabbed 20 rebounds and added two assists and one steal in 44 minutes of action.

The Texters outrebounded the Energy Cola, 44-37, and dished out more assists, 20-14.

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