Arwind Santos played the hero in the last minutes of the game as Petron Blaze beat Talk ‘n Text, 85-73, in Game 7 to capture the PBA Governor’s Cup crown and spoil TNT’s grand slam bid at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum last night.
Leading by 10 points at 74-64 with four minutes left in the game, Petron nearly lost its grasp on the momentum as Talk ‘n Text battled its way up to the last two minutes, trying to turn things around to keep its grand slam campaign alive.
But Santos and Dennis Miranda kept pace with Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams as Petron worked the time and took care of every ball possession while protecting the slim margin that carried them through in the final seconds.
It was the first title for Petron coach Ato Agustin, who never allowed the 104-78 Game 6 loss to TNT affect the intensity of their play in last night’s do-or-die game.
As promised, Petron went all out and registered an 11-point lead in the first quarter, 28-17, then slowed down a bit in the second quarter to allow TNT to cut the deficit to six points at halftime 40-34.
Santos was at his deadliest all throughout the game as he scored 16 points, pulled down a total of 16 rebounds and stole the ball and blocked TNT shots three times each to win the hearts of all Petron fans who, though outnumbered by the blue-and-gold TNT followers, cheered their team on until the final buzzer.
Miranda also finished with 16 points, as together with Alex Cabagnot, chased the ball from one end to the other as Petron strengthened their defense against the hard-fighting TNT.
Cabagnot scored 12 points at the end of the game while Ildefonso, who gave his best in all seven games of the final series, delivered 13 points and 7 rebounds. Anthony Grundly led Petron scorers with 26 points.
Petron Blazers managed to put a clamp on TNT scorers as they limited Maurice Baker’s total output to 22 points, Ranidel Ocampo, 15 points, Jimmy Alapag and William, 13 points.*NAB
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