THE M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Niños outscored Talk 'n Text Tropang Texters, 23-9, for six minutes and 37 seconds to build a double-digit lead en route to a 99-95 win to cap a two-game exhibition series at the Cebu Coliseum last night.

MLKP's win allowed the Cebuanos to close the head-to-head matchup with Philippine Basketball Association (PBBA) squad mentored by Chot Reyes to 1-2.

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The Niños are expected to use the momentum of that win against the Alaska Aces this Friday at the USC Gym and in Bogo City Coliseum on Saturday.

Coach Raul "Yayoy" Alcoseba used a clever defensive alignment to neutralize the size advantage of the Texters.

Learning lessons from their 79-87 defeat last Monday, the Niños worked harder on their inside defense as Reyes softened on his starting line-up.

This proved to be beneficial to the Cebu team as they quickly recovered from a 7-2 deficit to build a 15-9 lead, midway in the opening period.

The Texters, however, were quick to regain bearing as Eric Hicks and Mark Yee combined for a 10-0 run to take back the lead 19-15.

The Niños were trailing by as many as seven points, 24-31, when American import Jason Forte combined forces with Bruce Dacia to lead an 18-4 run, leading M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala in building a seven-point lead, 42-35, with 2:43 left in the first half.

M. Lhuillier was able to hang on to the lead until the 4:49 mark of the third period, when the game became close for six minutes and 22 seconds until Talk 'n Text grabbed the lead, 72-71.

Jimmy Alapag's triple for a 75-71 at the 8:11 mark of the final period was the last time the Tropang Texters got hold of the lead.