TNT KaTropa silences Alaska in 4th quarter comeback
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)－ The TNT KaTropa trailed by as much as 17 midway through the match but stepped up in clutch time as they rallied past the Alaska Aces, 119-110, in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday, May 20 at the Ibalong Center for Recreation in Legazpi City.
Debuting as the newest import for the KaTropa is NBA D-League player Joshua Smith, who put up 23 points and 10 rebounds in his first action on the Philippine stage.
The 6-foot-10 big man, who has suited up for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the D-League, filled in the void left by Donte Greene. Smith listed averages of 8.5 points, 4.78 rebounds as well as 1.1 assists during his stint with the Vipers.
The out-of-town game also marked the return of TNT stalwarts Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy and Troy Rosario, who all helped lead the country to a SEABA gold.
Castro had 20 markers to go with 5 rebounds and 7 assists, while Pogoy dished out 12 markers including a go-ahead 4-point play that provided the KaTropa with a 107-105 lead with 5:15 remaining.
Ranidel De Ocampo displayed veteran moves down the stretch as he buried a triple that sealed the deal for the KaTropa, who dominated the boards with a 60-44 advantage. He finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds.
The KaTropa, who have earlier secured a slot in the Comms Cup quarterfinal, soared to a 7-3 record.
Cory Jefferson topscored with 29 points coupled with 7 boards for the now 4-4 Aces.
Several misses from the free throw line became the story in the 4th for Alaska as its players shot only 18-of-32 from the stripe.
Vic Manuel, who appeared to have hurt his knee in the second half, returned for action in the closing quarter and finished with 17 markers and 4 rebounds off the bench.
Calvin Abueva, also fresh from a successful Gilas stint, meanwhile uncorked 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting as well as 7 boards for Alaska.
TNT (119): Smith 23, Castro 20, De Ocampo 15, Garcia 13, Pogoy 12, Tautuaa 8, Rosario 7, Williams 6, Reyes 5, Rosales 5, Semerad 5, Carey 0
ALASKA (110): Jefferson 29, Manuel 17, Casio 16, Abueva 11, Enciso 9, Pascual 8, Thoss 6, Exciminiano 4, Mendoza 4, Banchero 4, Hontiveros 2, Racal 0, Dela Cruz 0, Andrada 0, Cruz 0, Galliguez 0