TALK N Text went to the “Deadly Duo” of Jayson Castro and Ray Parks to subdue Phoenix Super LPG, 95-92, and take the headstart in their best-of-five semifinal showdown in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.
Castro scored nine of his team-high 20 points in the final four and a half minutes as the Tropang Giga outsteadied the Fuel Masters in a tight and exciting battle.
Castro and Parks teamed-up in Talk N Text’s strong finishing kick as they scored all but one of the Tropang Giga’s 14 points in the closing minutes.
Parks added four of his 17 points during a decisive stretch that saw the Tropang Giga shatter an 81-all score with 4:29 left to take the lead for good.
Parks hit a driving lay-up against a phalanx of Phoenix defenders with 4:13 left, and Castro nailed two pressure-paden free throws 30 seconds later to make it 85-81.
And after Alex Mallari put Phoenix to within 83-85, Parks hit another basket for an 87-83 count.
Calvin Abueva completed a three-point play for Phoenix with 1:32 left, but Castro nailed a dagger three for 90-86 with 1:14 remaining.
Castro,who was named as “Best Player of the Game”, also finished with six rebounds, six assists and two steals in less than 30 minutes of action.
Parks added 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 39:49 minutes.
Castro and Parks were ably supported by Roger Pogoy with 16 points and nine rebounds, John Paul Erram with a double double of 15 points and 14 rebounds and Ryan Reyes with 11 points.
RJ Jazul carried the fight for Phoenix with 21 points, including 4-of-10 shooting from the rainbow territory.
Jason Perkins added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Abueva had 13 points and nine rebounds despite struggling with foul trouble most of the second half.
Mallari also contribured 13 points.
Phoenix’s campaign took a hit when top gunner Matthew Wright was hurt after twisting his right ankle and left the game after only 6:42 of play.
His status was stil uncertain.
Talk N Text coach Bong Ravena said he was relieved that the Tropang Giga managed to stave off the gallant stand of Wright-less Fuel Masters despite blowing as much as a 12-point lead.
“Phoenix has a lot of energy. We know they’re not going to give up. They’re gonna come out really strong and they’re going to stay in the game,” said Ravena.
“We just stuck to our game, especially on defense. We matched their energy with our guards,” said Ravena, referring to their strategy to use four guards at the same time.
Ravena also had good words for Castro, who played long and hard despite a nagging calf injury.
Talk N Text (95) –Castro 20, Parks 17, Pogoy 16, Erram 15, Reyes 11, Montalbo 6, Rosario 5, Enciso 4, Carey 1, Washington 0.
Phoenix (92) — Jazul 21, Perkins 15, Abueva 13, Mallari 13, Garcia 12, Heruela 6, Chua 3, Intal 3, Wright 2, Marcelo 2, Rios 2, Napoles 0, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 16-24, 36-37, 67-61, 95-92.