TNT avoids late-game meltdown, halts two-game skid at Blackwater's expense
MANILA, Philippines – TNT averted a late-game collapse against Blackwater as the KaTropa ended their two-game losing streak with a 92-83 win over the Elite at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday, January 17.
Leading by 17 points early in the 4th period after 3 straight triples from Norbert Torres, Anthony Semerad and RR Garcia, 76-59, the KaTropa looked like it was in for an easy triumph before the Elite regained their bearings.
Blackwater cut the lead to just 6 points with 1:50 minutes left in the game following back-to-back buckets by Poy Erram and Mike Cortez, 79-85.
However, the Elite's comeback threat was ultimately cut short with only a little over a minute remaining after Jayson Castro came up clutch for the KaTropa with a 3-point play conversion, 88-79.
Roger Pogoy starred for TNT with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals while Castro chipped in 17 markers, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
Kelly Williams, who only played in the second half after arriving late in the game, made his presence felt with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.
"Our rotation messed up in the first half, good thing we recovered in the second half. Going into this game, we knew that we gonna have a hard time against Blackwater. We knew that it's not gonna be easy getting a victory over them. It would take our absolute best and they really able to challenge us, especially in the second half, our shots started to fall," said TNT head coach Nash Racela.
The Elite held a 10-point cushion early in the third quarter following a Mike Digregorio triple and a Raymar Jose bucket, 50-40. But it did not take long before TNT got its offensive rhythm as the KaTropa went on a 16-2 spurt, 5 points coming from Troy Rosario, to turn the tides and take a 60-53 advantage, a lead they held until the buzzer expired.
Erram paced the Elite with 20 points and 8 rebounds.
Both teams are tied with identical 2-2 records, tying NLEX, Rain or Shine, Alaska and Phoenix.
TNT (92): Pogoy 24, Castro 17, Garcia 12, Semerad 11, Rosario 9, Williams 6, Tautuaa 6, Reyes 2, Golla 0, Onwubere 0, Carey 0.
Blackwater (83): Erram 20, Cortez 14, Digregorio 9, Belo 9, Maliksi 9, Jose 7, Sumang 5, Marcelo 4, Sena 4, Pinto 2, Cruz 0.
Quarter scores: 15-16, 36-43, 65-57, 92-83.