MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The TNT KaTropa erased a double-digit deficit to start the closing quarter as they rallied past the Blackwater Elite, 92-89, in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday, March 31 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Elite gained control of the game midway through the second half as they built a 10-point lead after 3 quarters. But the KaTropa, led by veterans Jayson Castro and Kelly Williams, banked on composure down the stretch as they obtained a deadlock at 87 with under 4 mins remaining on the clock.
Looking for their first Comms Cup victory, Blackwater gained the final possession but failed to convert a game-tying triple.
“We go to a game expecting nothing definite,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela. “We have a new guy in Donte [Greene], and if you will notice even the locals, nag-kakapaan sila (they were still adjusting). That’s exactly what happened when we played Meralco the first game.”
Greene impressed in his TNT debut after putting up a double-double of 22 points coupled with 13 rebounds.
RR Pogoy had a game-high 24 markers on a perfect shooting night inside the arc for the KaTropa, including the go-ahead putback that gave his team an 89-87 lead in the endgame.
Jayson Castro, who settled for limited minutes due to early foul trouble, finished with 13 points, 2 boards, and 3 assists for the KaTropa, who rises to a 2-1 slate.
Greg Smith dished out another dominant double-double performance for the Elite with a team-high 22 points to go with 31 rebounds. The team likewise saw efficient production from the bench as it outscored the KaTropa’s stringers, 44-20.
Former GlobalPort forward KG Canaleta meanwhile had 6 points and 4 boards in his first match for the Elite, who has now slipped to a 0-4 record.
TNT (92) – Pogoy 24, Greene 22, Castro 13, Williams 11, De Ocampo 10, Rosario 4, Rosales 3, Fonacier 3, Reyes 2
Blackwater (89) – Smith 22, Pascual 12, Buenafe 12, Sumang 9, Pinto 7, Cruz 7, Canaleta 6, Sena 4, Digregorio 4, Miranda 2, Perez 0, Gamalinda 0
Quarter scores: 15-27, 39-41, 63-73, 92-89. – Rappler.com
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