Jason Castro played with pain in his right knee and sparked the Tropang Texters to a 104-78 victory over Petron Blaze that sent the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals—and their Triple Crown bid—into a deciding Game 7.
Declared out for the rest of the series by his own coach because of the ailing knee, Castro came off the bench when the Texters trailed in the first quarter and hit his first six shots to give them the lead for good, before playing with sustained brilliance at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to key the victory.
The rubber match is set Sunday at 7 p.m. also at the Big Dome.
Maurice Baker, who just had one full day of practice, also justified his reactivation by holding Petron import Anthony Grundy to the minimum and coming up with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
Castro finished with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists and declared himself ready for the rubber match.
“[The knee] is hurting, but I tried all game not to think about it,” Castro said in Filipino. “I really wanted to focus on the game. I guess it’s adrenaline that got me going and the desire to help the team win.
“Game 7? Of course, I will play.”
Ranidel de Ocampo scattered 21 points and had nine rebounds to pace the Texters, while Arwind Santos hit 19 points and had 14 boards for the Boosters, who trailed by as many as 28 points and were actually goners by the time the third quarter ended.
“All we did was tie this series,” Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes said. “We came into this game needing to play 96 good minutes. We just won the first half. We now have to find a way to gut out one more win on Sunday.”
After shooting 26 points and hauling down 11 rebounds on Wednesday, Grundy was held scoreless in the first two quarters and to just five for the game despite taking 13 attempts and playing for 40 minutes.
TALK ‘N TEXT 104—De Ocampo 21, Castro 19, Baker 18, Alapag 16, Carey 8, Williams 7 , Peek 6, Dillinger 3, Reyes 3, Fonacier 3, Aban 0, Alvarez 0, Lao 0.
PETRON 78—Santos 19, Ildefonso 14, Miranda 12, Guevarra 11, Grundy 5, Cabagnot 5, Salvacion 5, Pennisi 5, Baclao 1, Hubalde 1, Duncil 0.
Quarters: 31-23, 55-43, 78-58, 104-78