MANILA, Philippines – Veteran guards Larry Fonacier and Jayson Castro combined for 44 points as league leading TNT KaTropa dispatched the already-eliminated Star Hotshots, 115-105, in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday, September 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Fonacier came off the bench and went 9-of-12 from the field plus 3 triples in nearly 32 minutes for his team-high 23 points along with 7 rebounds and two assists. Castro wound up with 21 markers on 8-of-18 shooting to go with 5 assists as TNT rose to 9-1.
The now 9-1 TNT has been dominant all season long and will get a chance to clinch the top seed if they defeat last assignment Barangay Ginebra and the Gin Kings lose to the Fuel Masters.
"I think they take it upon themselves," head coach Jong Uichico said of how his players stayed motivated coming into Sunday's game knowing Star was already eliminated.
"They know that they have to keep their level of play on a high. I think that's what they're doing now. Everybody's playing very well."
Rookie Mo Tautuaa contributed 16 points and 6 rebounds off the bench while import Mychal Ammons had 14 markers, 17 boards, and two dimes. Troy Rosario and Michael Madanly had 10 points apiece as TNT overcame an early 13-24 deficit.
Reinforcement Joel Wright paced the struggling Hotshots with 27 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, two steals, and 3 blocks.
PJ Simon had 20 points while Marc Pingris had a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Mark Barroca chipped in 10 markers with 5 rebounds for Star, which is now 2-8 just above Blackwater at the bottom of the standings.
TNT (115): Fonacier 21, Castro 21, Tautuaa 16, Ammons 14, Rosario 10, Madanly 10, Williams 9, Rosales 7, Reyes 5, De Ocampo 2, Carey 0, Rosser 0.
Star (105): Wright 27, Simon 20, Pingris 17, Barroca 10, Maliksi 9, Garcia 8, Pascual 6, Reavis 4, Mallari 4, Brondial 0, Melton 0.
Quarter scores: 27-27, 50-55, 89-83, 115-105.