Not even Wednesday's monsoon rain could cool off the sizzling Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters with the telecommunication franchise cruising to a 104-85 blasting of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the PBA Fiesta Cup at the Astrodome in Pasay City.
The victory extended the Texters' winning run to a team-best 10 games to again tie defending champion San Miguel Beermen on top of the standings with identical 11-2 win-loss slates.
Talk 'N Text jumped the gun on Rain or Shine and had the game all wrapped up even before the first half ended when it led by as many as 52-31 a minute remaining in the second quarter.
The Texters even stretched that lead to a huge 35-point margin (71-36) early in the third as the team that made the biggest trade in the season, following the acquisition of Kelly Williams and Ryan Reyes, was red-hot shooting 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from the field.
By the time the Tropang Texters were through with their demolition job, the hottest team in the league shot 40-of-74 overall from the field for a 54 percent clip.
"We just made sure that we defend not only their top players, but to make sure we do our job on the other guys as well," said coach Chot Reyes. "That was critical tonight."
Three Talk 'N Text players – Jason Castro, Mac Cardona and Ranidel de Ocampo – each contributed 14 points, while Williams had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Defensively, the Tropang Texters also did a great job, holding Rain or Shine's top scorer Sol Mercado to just five points on 1-of-8 shooting while Gabe Norwood was limited to six markers.
But Reyes said TNT's easy win over the Rain or Shine is just the start of a five-game stretch where the Tropang Texters face some of the league’s heavyweights.
"After tonight, there’s going to be four tough teams in the horizon starting on Saturday," he said.
Reyes of course, is referring to his team’s weekend showdown with Barangay Ginebra Kings in Batangas City, followed by Alaska, San Miguel and Derby Ace.
The Tropang Texters will end the elimination round against Barako Energy Coffee.
The Elasto Painters fell to 6-6, their cause made worst after shooting 35.2 percent from the floor (31-of-88).
They were likewise outrebounded, 30-24, and outscored in transition, 28-10.
Leading by 21 starting the second half, the Tropang Texters kept on pouring the points as they outscored the Elasto Painters, 18-4, to register that 35-point lead on Cardona’s two free throws. – JVP, GMANews.TV
Talk 'N Text 104 – Castro 14, Cardona 14, De Ocampo 14, Williams 12, Carey 11, Reyes 9, Quinahan 8, Yee 6, Dillinger 5, Alapag 5, Daniels 4, Waters 2, Aban 0.
Rain or Shine 85 – Lewis 21, Cruz 14, Arana 14, Arellano 9, Chan 7, Dulay 7, Norwood 6, Mercado 5, Reyes 2, Tang 0, Ibanes 0, Laure 0, Hrabak 0.
Quarter scores: 24-17, 53-32, 82-54, 104-85.