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Jerome Jordan could be just what the doctor ordered for Talk ‘N Text.
The 7-foot Jamaican center immediately provided the intimidating presence the Tropang Texters have been lacking all conference long, leading them to a morale-boosting 100-86 victory over Barangay Ginebra Sunday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
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A former first-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2010 and a one-time New York Knick who took over from Donnell Harvey, Jordan quickly lived up to the hype in his debut, racking up 11 of his game-high 23 points in the payoff period to go along with 17 rebounds and two blocks while making life difficult for Ginebra counterpart Vernon Macklin throughout.
Behind Jordan’s exploits coupled with another balanced offensive attack, Talk ‘N Text gained a share of the fourth spot with archrival Petron Blaze, sporting identical 7-6 records.
With forward Kelly Williams already out with a career-threatening blood disorder, Ranidel De Ocampo stepped up to the plate with aplomb, tallying 20 points and leading three other local teammates with at least 11 markers.
Veteran forward Kerby Raymundo turned back the hands of Father Time with 22 points, most coming in the first half, before fouling out with 8:19 to play, but the 6-foot-10 Macklin never got into his usual, electrifying groove, causing the Gin Kings to finish the eliminations with a 7-7 mark.
Pitted against the quicker and lanky Jordan, Macklin–averaging 25.4 points and 16.0 rebounds prior to the game–visibly struggled, settling just for 12 markers in nine attempts while hauling down only nine boards.
MVP: He isn’t the great Michael but for a while Jerome played like Jordan, notably in the second half.
Utilizing his quickness and agility to the hilt, the Jamaican reinforcement served as a reliable anchor on both ends, dunking his way offensively while repeatedly making his presence felt defensively.
With the Boosters up next on Wednesday, Jordan’s mettle will be tested to the hilt by Henry Sims.
X-Factor: Still trying to deal with consistency, De Ocampo ably filled up the shoes left by Williams and formed a dangerous frontline duo with Jordan.
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While their imposing import wrought havoc in the lane, the former St. Francis of Assisi standout went on an offensive tear from the perimeter, his last three-pointer pushing their lead to 85-72.
Game Turning Point: Just when the Gin Kings thought they’re in for another great comeback after a Raymundo jumper pulled them within 61-62, the Texters restored order with a 17-6 counterattack before Jordan delivered the killer blows.
“It’s great coming over here and experience a different style of play. I want to be aggressive and just paced myself in the second half,” said Jordan.
“Jordan did a good job defensively. Offensively we had more energy now. Wednesday is another crucial game for us. If we win we're not in a twice-to-beat disadvantage. We'd rather get in a best-of-three series. It’s a crucial game for both teams on Wednesday,” stated Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.
TALK ‘N TEXT (100) – Jordan 23, De Ocampo 20, Castro 14, Reyes 11, Alapag 11, Al-Hussaini 7, Dillinger 5, Carey 4, Peek 4, Fonacier 1, Raymundo 0, Aban 0.
GINEBRA (86) – Raymundo 22, Tenorio 15, Baracael 13, Macklin 12, Helterbrand 12, Ellis 5, Hatfield 4, Maierhofer 3, Taha 0, Jensen 0, Labagala 0, Espiritu 0.
Quarterscores: 32-27, 47-37, 70-63, 100-96