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TNT outlasts Alaska to claim all-Filipino crown

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 , Posted by dAVe at 8:16 PM

Talk N Text owner Manny V. Pangilinan (third from right, standing) joins the Texters in their celebration after they won the PBA Philippine Cup crown last night. JUN MENDOZA

Mac-Mac Cardona scored 23 points for the second straight game and Jason Castro broke out of his rookie cell and nearly showcased a triple-double effort as Talk 'N Text turned back Alaska, 93-89, in Wednesday's Game Seven to capture the KFC Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the jampacked Araneta Coliseum.

Cardona was named as the Mighty Bond Finals most valuable player, snatching the award after losing the best player of the conference to close buddy Willie Miller, who was not essentially in a groove at a time when the Aces needed him most down the stretch.

Instead, it was Talk 'N Text, which clinched its only second title after winning the 2003 Philippine Cup, that played as if it was the more veteran ball club.

But there were others, too, who sparkled.

Jimmy Alapag sealed the title-clinching free throws with three seconds left for the final count, and Harvey Carey, before that, hit a crucial side jumper that broke the last deadlock at 89 with 1:29 remaining in the game.

TNT coach Chot Reyes, who nailed down his fifth championship as a coach and became only the first man to win three titles with three teams in a tournament without imports, couldn't be happier.

"Barely 16 or 18 months I was in the lowest of coaching depths," said Reyes, referring to the debacle he suffered in the Tokushima FIBA-Asia Championships.

"So for me this is really a validation that I made the right decision to continue coaching, it reinforces my love for the game, and erases somewhat the pain of that Tokushima debacle."

For Alaska, it was one of its most painful losses in a Finals.

They missed four free throws in the last 26.9 seconds, and Miller muffed a baseline drive that could have tied the game at 91. After that, Carey pulled down the rebound that led to a duty foul.

As a result, Alaska blew a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series for the third time. The incident, too, was only the sixth time in PBA history that the unwanted outcome occurred.

Moreover, Cone was denied of surpassing Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan as the mentor with the most number of wins. He is currently tied with Dalupan with 601 victories, and he surely would achieve that next conference, the Fiesta Cup.

Miller only scored two points in the fourth period and had 22 overall, and Hugnatan, who single-handedly brought the Aces back into the game in the final period after trailing by as many as 13 points (76-63), pumped in 13 of his 17 points in the fourth period. - GMANews.TV

The scores:

TALK 'N TEXT 93 -- Cardona 23, Castro 19, De Ocampo R. 12, Alapag 10, Peek 10, Ritualo 9, Carey 7, De Ocampo Y. 2, Dillinger 1, Aljamal 0.

ALASKA 89 -- Miller 22, Hugnatan 17, De Vance 14, Tenorio 10, Fonacier 10, Ferriols 6, Thoss 4, Dela Cruz 4, Cariaso 2.

Quarters: 20-23, 47-41, 73-63, 93-89

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