MANILA, Philippines – TNT fell apart and absorbed a 99-66 beating at the hands of hosts Utsunomiya Brex to open its East Asia Super League Champions Week campaign at the Nikkan Arena in Japan on Wednesday, March 1.
Comebacking import Jalen Hudson churned out solid numbers of 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals but lacked help as the Tropang Giga collapsed the rest of the way after a nip-and-tuck opening quarter.
TNT grabbed a slim 26-25 edge at the end of the first period before it hit a slump, scoring just 8 points in the second frame and allowing the Brex to build a commanding 57-34 lead at halftime.
Utsunomiya – the defending Japan B. League champions – continued to dominate in the second half and outscored the Tropang Giga 44-32 to gain an early lead in Group B with a 1-0 record.
Former NBA player Daniel Ochefu backstopped Hudson with 9 points and 9 rebounds as no other TNT player scored in double figures.
Calvin Oftana added 8 points and 3 assists in the loss, while Mikey Williams and Roger Pogoy finished with 5 points each.
The defeat dealt a major blow to the chances of TNT reaching the finals of eight-team tournament that dangles a champions purse of $250,000 (nearly P14 million).
Only the No. 1 teams from each of the two groups will advance to the finals.
Josh Scott put up 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Brex and Grant Jerrett netted 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Meanwhile, Filipino import Rhenz Abando and the Anyang KGC of the Korean Basketball League aced their first test in Group A with a 99-64 whipping of P. League+ squad Taipei Fubon Braves.
Abando posted 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals for the KGC, who were led by a 21-point, 21-rebound double-double from Darryl Monroe.
Omari Spellman added 22 points and 7 rebounds in the win.
San Miguel takes its turn in the Champions Week as it battles Carl Tamayo and B. League powerhouse Ryukyu Golden Kings on Thursday, March 2.
Utsunomiya 99 – Scott 24, Jerrett 20, Endo 17, Ikaruga 11, Hiejima 9, Yang 8, Takeuchi 5, Takashima 3, Kitagawa 2, Kasai 0, Araya 0, Watanabe 0.
TNT 66 – Hudson 28, Ochefu 9, Oftana 8, Castro 7, M. Williams 5, Pogoy 5, Chua 3, Khobuntin 1, K. Williams 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Varilla 0.
Quarters: 25-26, 57-34, 79-55, 99-66.
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.