Johnson-less TNT withstands Lastimosa's career-high to down Blackwater in Comm Cup opener


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Not even the absence of import Ivan Johnson can stop Talk 'n Text from beating Blackwater despite Carlo Lastimosa's career game.

The Tropang Texters repulsed the Elite, 108-102, at the start of the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Talk 'n Text, however, had to withstand Lastimosa's 39-point explosion and a late Blackwater rally to take the win.

The Texters led, 88-74, early in the fourth quarter, but the Elite, behind Lastimosa, managed to cut the lead to as low as one, 103-102, with 1:11 left in the match.

Jayson Castro, however, nailed a clutch triple with 53 seconds remaining to up the lead to four, 106-102.

Lastimosa finally lost steam as he missed a jumper, and Larry Fonacier sealed the win with a fastbreak layup off a Ranidel De Ocampo steal from Arth Dela Cruz in the final Blackwater offensive.

Castro led Talk 'n Text with 22 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while De Ocampo added 20 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals in his comeback game.

De Ocampo's return from a back injury that sidelined him for the Philippine Cup proved to be timely as Johnson had to sit out Wednesday night as part of his suspension for an altercation with Blackwater's Poy Erram and Frank Golla in a pre-conference friendly last week.

Aside from his career-high in points, Lastimosa also made four boards and four dimes for Blackwater, which made the playoffs for the first time in his PBA stint last conference.

In his PBA debut, M.J. Rhett tallied 16 markers, seven caroms, one dish, and one block, but committed five turnovers.

Box Scores:

Talk 'n Text 108-Castro 22, De Ocampo 20, Reyes R.16, Tautuaa 16, Williams 9, Rosser 8, Fonacier 7, Carey 6, Reyes J. 4, Ababou 0, Aban 0, Nuyles 0

Blackwater 102-Lastimosa 39, Rhett 16, Cervantes 15, Cortez 14, Dela Cruz 11, Reyes 3, Gamalinda 2, Golla 2, Bulawan 0, Canada 0, Erram 0, Tiongson 0

Quarterscores: 29-26, 52-44, 83-72, 108-102

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