Masked-man Johnson stars as TNT tops Rain or Shine

Delfin Dioquino
Masked-man Johnson stars as TNT tops Rain or Shine
The KaTropa snap the 6-game winning streak of the No. 1 Elasto Painters to clinch their 8th win in 11 games

MANILA, Philippines – TNT fended off a 4th-quarter scare from top-seed Rain or Shine to hack out a 100-85 win in the final day of the eliminations of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, July 7.

Joshua Smith, sporting a protective mask, barely looked like someone who just came off a nose operation as he delivered team-highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds for the KaTropa, who snapped the Elasto Painters’ 6-game winning streak. 

Even without veteran Jayson Castro, who asked TNT coach Nash Racela to rest following his stint for Gilas Pilipinas, the KaTropa led throughout and enjoyed a lead as big as 22 points, 100-78, en route to their 8th win in 11 games. 

Comfortably sitting on an 18-point lead heading into the final frame, 76-58, TNT looked like it was in for an easy win until the Elasto Painters rode on a 16-6 spurt, sparked by 7 straight points from Maverick Ahanmisi, to make it an 8-point game. 

However, that was the closest Rain or Shine would get as TNT drilled in 3 straight triples – two from Troy Rosario and another from Anthony Semerad – to secure the win. 

The KaTropa (4th) will face the San Miguel Beermen (6th) in a best-of-3 quarterfinals series starting Monday, July 9, at the Araneta Coliseum. 

“This is better than we were the last conference. We’ll take this,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela, whose squad was eliminated by the same San Miguel team in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup after facing a twice-to-beat disadvantage. 

Rosario fired 19 points with 8 rebounds, Ryan Reyes delivered 12 points, 3 rebounds and two steals while Terrence Romeo bucked off a poor shooting night by filling in Castro’s shoes with 12 assists. 

Reggie Johnson had 12 points, 14 rebounds and 3 assists for the Elasto Painters, who maintained their No. 1 ranking heading into the quarterfinals despite the loss. 

Chris Tiu finished with 11 points while Ahanmisi and James Yap added 10 points apiece in the losing cause. 


The Scores:

TNT (100): Smith 25, Rosario 19, Reyes 12, Williams 9, Pogoy 8, Semerad 6, Trollano 6, Cruz 5, Garcia 4, Paredes 4, Romeo 2, Tamsi 0, Golla 0

Rain or Shine (85): Johnson 12, Tiu 11, Ahanmisi 10, Yap 10, Belga 9, Almazan 9, Nambatac 8, Onwubere 6, Daquioag 5, Torres 3, Maiquez 2, Borboran 0, Washington, Ponferada 0, Norwood 0, Casiño 0

Quarter scores: 24-20, 47-39, 76-58, 100-85

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.