Texters edge Floodbuster, notch 3rd straight victory
STREAKING TNT KaTropa won its third straight game, flexing its muscles down the stretch to trip ailing Mahindra, 86-84, and continue its rise in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup and the 42nd Anniversary of the League at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Sunday.
Donte Greene, despite a so-so shooting from the field, produced a steady game, leading the Tropang Texters with a double-double of 24 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.
He got help from spitfire Jayson Castro, who had 10 points, four rebounds and seven assists in a complete game as well.
The Tropang Texters were forced to deliver in crunch time and they did.
From a 78-all standoff with eight minutes left, TNT KaTropa turned in a key 5-0 run in a slow five-minute stretch in the middle of the fourth to carry an 83-78 lead into the final minutes of action.
Mahindra kept in step and came to within a single possession. It was only down by two or three points several times in the last two minutes on multiple occasions down the stretch, but TNT KaTropa prevented the Floodbuster from scoring a huge basket that would’ve made a difference.
Instead, the Tropang Texters held their ground to keep their winning streak alive.
TNT KaTropa is now tied with Alaska at 4-1 for fourth place in the standings.
Though TNT continued the wins, Castro still wasn’t satisfied on one aspect of his team’s game.
“Sa defense namin, marami pa kaming kailangan ma-improve. Marami kaming naging mistakes and miscommunications pero masaya at nanalo pa rin,” said the TNT star.
The Floodbuster fell to 1-5 in the standings for 10th place. It needs to pick up some wins along the way to enhance its chances of making the top eight.
It was a roller-coaster first half for both teams, with neither being able to take charge at the start.
They exchanged short runs and leads through most of the first two quarters, until the TNT KaTropa unleashed a critical 15-3 surge to end the first half, giving it a 47-38 lead at the turn and control of the game heading to the second half.
Still, Mahindra kept its distance with TNT, turning in a better third quarter and trimming the Texters’ lead to just three, 62-65, heading into the fourth to give itself a chance.
TNT 86 - Greene 24, Rosario 11, Castro 10, Tautuaa 9, Rosales 8, Pogoy 6, Fonacier 5, De Ocampo 5, Williams 4, Reyes 3, Carey 1, Tamsi 0.
MAHINDRA 84 - Wright 26, Revilla 20, Mallari 17, Elorde 6, Salva 5, Paniamogan 4, Deutchman 3, Caperal 2, Yee 1, Ballesteros 0, Corpuz 0, Celda 0, Guevarra 0, Galanza 0.
Quarters: 18-17, 47-38, 65-62, 86-84.