MANILA, Philippines – The TNT Tropang Giga handed sister team Meralco Bolts their first loss of the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup off a late 78-71 pullaway at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City on Saturday, June 18.
RR Pogoy led the win with 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting, albeit with 8 turnovers, while Troy Rosario scored 16 for the 3-2 Tropang Giga.
Off a 65-all tie midway through the fourth quarter, TNT set the tone with a pivotal 8-0 run, sparked by consecutive long bombs from Brian Heruela and JJay Alejandro, and capped by a Pogoy layup with 2:27 left in regulation.
Meralco only got within 6, 69-75, off a Reynel Hugnatan bucket with 1:25 left before the Tropang Giga controlled the endgame on defense to waste the clock, and seal the deal.
Allein Maliksi dropped a game-high 20 points in just 24 minutes for the 2-1 Bolts, while Bong Quinto and Chris Newsome scored 13 apiece in Meralco’s first loss in three games.
Meanwhile, in the double-header opener, the Blackwater Bossing outgunned the NorthPort Batang Pier, 97-90, to take an early share of a fourth-place tie with NLEX.
Veteran guard JVee Casio led the way with 22 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals, while rookie forward Ato Ular shone with a conference-high 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting in a game where the Bossing led by as many as 15, 93-78, midway through the fourth quarter.
NorthPort only got as near as 7, 90-97, off a final 12-4 spurt before both teams went scoreless in the final 1:29 of regulation.
Tempers then still flared after the buzzer as NorthPort head coach Pido Jarencio bumped Blackwater shot-caller Ariel Vanguardia on the sidelines, which caused both teams to separate the heated tacticians before the situation escalated further.
Blackwater can keep its newfound momentum going with a win against Terrafirma on Saturday, June 25, 5:15 pm at Ynares Antipolo. Meanwhile, NorthPort shoots for a bounce-back against Meralco on Thursday, June 23, also at 5:15 pm at the same venue.
TNT can then start a new winning streak with a win over Rain or Shine after the NorthPort-Meralco game at 7:15 pm. – Rappler.com