MANILA, Philippines – A last-minute import replacement proved to be beneficial for TNT as it returned to the winning column of the PBA Governors’ Cup with a 95-92 squeaker against Rain or Shine at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, December 26.
Taking over the spot of injured McKenzie Moore, Aaron Fuller still delivered 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks despite not being able to practice with the Tropang Giga to help his side end the year with a 2-2 record.
Mikey Williams posted 25 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds as he helped TNT build a lead big enough to withstand a late Elasto Painters comeback led by former NBA veteran Henry Walker.
The Tropang Giga enjoyed a 13-point advantage off a Roger Pogoy triple, 92-79, before Walker erupted for 10 points in a 13-1 run that cut their deficit to a whisker.
After Rey Nambatac narrowed the Elasto Painters’ gap to 89-93 with a three-pointer, Walker also dialed up from beyond the arc to make it a one-point game with 45 seconds left.
But the Elasto Painters failed to complete the comeback as Nambatac missed a layup and Walker muffed the game-winning three-pointer, with Poy Erram securing the rebound for TNT and sinking the insurance free throws.
Pogoy finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals, Erram churned out 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks, while Ryan Reyes had 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Jayson Castro added 11 points, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in the victory.
Walker dominated with 32 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, but his numbers were not enough as Rain or Shine crashed to its second straight loss for a 2-3 record.
TNT 95 – M. Williams 25, Pogoy 18, Erram 15, Fuller 13, Reyes 11, Castro 11, K. Williams 2, Heruela 0, Exciminiano 0, Khobuntin 0, Alejandro 0, Marcelo 0, Banal 0.
Rain or Shine 92 – Walker 32, Mocon 13, Ponferada 12, Belga 11, Nambatac 9, Norwood 6, Asistio 5, Santillan 3, Caracut 1, Jackson 0, Wong 0, Borboran 0, Torres 0.
Quarters: 21-27, 44-47, 77-65, 95-92.