Harvey Carey of Talk N Text slashes through the double-team defense of Beermen Dorian Peña, left, and Arwind Santos. JUN MENDOZA]

MANILA, JANUARY 29, 2011 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran – San Miguel Beer found its old fighting heart in its old fighting hero and went on to stop Talk n Text, 103-82, in a game it couldn’t afford to lose last night at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen battled with an intensity and energy lacking in their game Saturday, ironically brought out by the old team skipper who has seen many a battle and was ready to call it quits.

That cut down the Tropang Texters’ series lead to 2-1 in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup final.

Team skipper Olsen Racela was given a tribute by the ballclub and the Beermen seized the moment to stoke the old fire against the Texters.

In his speech, Racela expressed gratitude to the franchise, then urged his teammates to make one more championship run.

“And let us start that tonight,” he said.

The Beermen responded to their captain’s call, starting strong and fighting relentlessly throughout to stop the Talk n Text charge.

“We’re inspired by Olsen’s message. It motivated us,” said Danny Ildefonso, among the Beermen who stepped up, coming through with a double-double game with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Texters engaged the Beermen in a battle only in the first 18 minutes then faded away, their rotation obviously affected by the absence of star off-guard Ryan Reyes.

Coach Ato Agustin made a key adjustment in his starting unit, inserting Paul Artadi who helped set the tone of the game early, making eight points, three rebounds and three assists in the first half.

Alex Cabagnot played off the bench and matched up well with Jason Castro - Talk n Text’s best player in Games One and Two. Cabagnot put in 12 points, six assists and four rebounds as against Castro’s 13 points, three assists, two steals and two rebounds.

“I guess our adjustments worked,” said Agustin who later scored the Texters for their hard fouls on the Beermen towards the end of the game.

“I hope the commissioner take a look and make actions on these players. These Talk n Text reserves were sent in obviously to hit our key players,” rued Agustin.

Agustin referred to Emmerson Oreta, Mark Yee and Gilbert Lao who inflicted hard fouls on the Beermen when the outcome of the game was already settled. Sunday Salvacion ended up bloodied with a cut on the head.

“I’m used to playing games on the streets. If they like that kind of game, I’m ready. We’ll not just take what they give us. We’ll give it back to them,” said Arwind Santos.

Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes said it was not done intentionally.

“They were ahead by 20. My thoughts were to just preserve the energy of my key players for Sunday. No intent. That’s how those guys (his reserves) play,” said Reyes.

The Talk n Text mentor offered no excuse to their loss, saying: “We saw the real San Miguel team tonight.”

The Beermen overwhelmed the Texters, dealing them their worst loss in over a year.

The two teams figured in a duel of spurts in the first half ending in San Miguel’s favor at 47-36.

SMB gained an early double-digit spread at 25-15 on a 14-2 run then, after the Texters started with an attack of their own in the second period, the Beermen came through with another assault to take the 11-point spread at the turn.

After falling behind by three at 30-33, Cabagnot scored on a twisting jumper to touch off an 11-to-nothing run to push SMB back in the lead at 41-33.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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