Whenever Purefoods and Talk ‘N Text meet in the hard court, it’s always a slug fest. A war of attrition. Remember Game 7 of the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup Finals when “Wait, there’s a foul! May foul!” happened? Remember Game 4 of last year’s Commisioner’s Cup when James Yap and Mark Barroca took over in the 4th quarter to clinch another championship? It’s always fireworks when these two teams go head-to-head. And this game was no different.
Although it was only an elimination game, it felt like the playoffs already. The intensity of this game was off the charts. It’s a game wherein nobody wanted to lose as both teams traded punch after punch. Haymaker after haymaker. Urgency was felt on both sides as this was an important game that would be critical in determining the rankings come playoff time.
It was a tightly contested ball game right from the get go with no team leading by more than 6 points. It was a game characterized by 13 lead changes and was tied 17 times. It all boiled down to the last two plays of regulation. Purefoods’ Marc Pingris scored on a spin move to take the lead with seconds left in the game. However, TNT’s Larry Fonacier scored on a buzzer-beating lay-up to send the game to overtime.
As the game went into overtime, Talk ‘N Text took over. It was a combination of offense and defense that won the game for the Tropang Texters. In that overtime period, Purefoods had no answer for Ranidel De Ocampo, Jayson Castro, and Harvey Carey. Parang naubusan ng bala ang Purefoods. It was a tough loss. A hard pill to swallow.
Story of the Game: Fighting Fire with Fire
In this game, the Hotshots were actually quite lucky they were able to keep in step and go toe-to-toe (and actually had the chance to win it) with the Tropang Texters despite not playing their brand of basketball. Purefoods has been always about defense. But in this game, they also showed that they could fight fire with fire!
It was a shootout in Araneta! Both teams scored at a high percentage from everywhere on the floor. Talk ‘N Text hit 34 of 79 shots (43%) while Purefoods on the other hand hit 38 of 87 shots (43.7%). As usual, the Tropang Texters were on target from downtown (1st in the league, 38.7% 3P%) sinking 13 three-point bombs (41.9%). The Hotshots also made their presence felt (surprisingly as they are 10th in terms of three-point shooting, 26.5%) from long range, hitting 7 shots from deep (41.2%). Both teams also shot well from the free throw line, shooting 82.6% (TNT) and 81.3% (PFS) respectively.
While Talk ‘N Text torched them from the outside, Purefoods on the other hand forced the issue inside. Looking at the shot distribution chart for this game, it can be seen that Purefoods mainly focused their attack in/near the shaded area.The Hotshots dominated the paint and had the edge in terms of inside scoring, 44-28.
However, as the saying goes,”If you play with fire, you get burned.” And Purefoods definitely got burned in this one by letting TNT dictate the pace and let offense be the determining factor in this game as Purefoods’ bench was outscored by TNT’s bench, 44-15.
Taking the Good with the Bad
Although this game ended as another loss, their 2nd in a row, it was actually a “good” loss (if there’s such a thing). Why? Because for the first time this conference, Purefoods showed intensity I have yet to see since last conference’s Finals series against Rain or Shine. Once again, the hunger to win another ring can be seen in the eyes of the Hotshots; most especially from Purefoods’ veterans. In this game, 5 players from Purefoods scored in double figures: Joe Devance with 22, Marc Pingris with 21, James Yap with 18, PJ Simon with 15, and Mark Barroca with 11.
But aside from his scoring, I liked what I saw from Marc Pingris in this game. Aside from his 21 points (55.6 eFG%), he also grabbed 11 rebounds, dished off 6 dimes, and stole the ball once. Also, more than the stats, it was his leadership and hustle that kept the Hotshots in the game. This was Pingris’ first good game in a long while and it was a refreshing sight to see. It reminded me how good this team can be when their heart and soul is at the helm.
Despite this loss, Purefoods’ bid for a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals is still alive. As per Mr. Fidel Mangonon, PBA’s resident statistician,
2 things must happen for them to advance in the quarterfinals without a disadvantage. For now, they have to take care of the first one, the game against the Barako Bull Energy. The ball is now in their hands and I believe Purefoods can do it.
Featured Image Credit: Jerome Ascano, Spin.PH (Edit: MI.NI)