MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Tropang TNT kept the Phoenix Fuel Masters at bay, 108-96, to end a 3-game losing slide in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday, February 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The defending champions, now 2-3, won their first game in 17 days as they dealt with the ban of original reinforcement Ivan Johnson and missing key men due to injuries.
“Everybody contributed, everybody played well today. I didn’t have to coach that much today,” said head coach Jong Uichico. “It’s the players’ energy and execution that made us get through this game. We lost 3 straight games so they know the importance of today’s game.”
Import David Simon paced the Tropa with 33 points on field goals on top of 22 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Simon, who came in on Monday, February 22 and debuted in Wednesday’s loss to Alaska, picked up his first win with TNT.
Ranidel De Ocampo caught fire and buried 6 of his 9 3-pointers, including two crucial ones to squash Phoenix’s rallies late in the fourth, on his way to a 20-point game.
Jayson Castro likewise sizzled with 4-of-9 triples for 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Rookie Troy Rosario finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds and a block while Larry Fonacier added 8 markers and 6 assists.
“We shot pretty well compared to last game,” Uichico noted as TNT made a total of 15 treys and registered 26 assists.
The Fuel Masters had new import Kevinn Pinkney debut with 26 points, 19 rebounds and 4 assists.
Pinkney, a globe-trotter with over a decade of experience playing around the world, arrived last Wednesday, February 24 to replace Nigerian Kenny Adeleke as Phoenix braces for tougher foes in the elimination round.
JC Intal and RR Garcia had 16 and 14 points, respectively, as the Fuel Masters lost their second straight for a 1-2 slate.
TNT (108): Simon 33, De Ocampo 20, Castro 19, Rosario 9, Fonacier 8, Reyes 5, Rosser 4, Williams 4, Aban 3, Ababou 0, Carey 0.
Phoenix (96): Pinkney 26, Inral 16, Garcia 14, Baracael 9, Pennisi 8, Wilson 6, Brondial 5, Lanete 4, Urbiztondo 4, Fortuna 2, Monfort 2, Forrester 0.
Quarter scores: 26-21, 51-42, 75-67, 108-96.
TNT coach Jong Uichico after his team arrests a 3-game skid #PBA2016Posted by Jane Yvette Bracher on Saturday, 27 February 2016
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