Before their game against the NLEX Road Warriors, the talk about the TNT Katropa was about the veteran they traded away. After four hard fought quarters, the remaining Katropa veterans reminded everyone what they still have.
TNT defeated NLEX, 112-107, in the 2017 Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo to strengthen their bid for a top four spot with their 6-3 tally as they are now right behind the Road Warriors who fell to 7-3 with the loss.
With the TNT holding a slim 107-106 lead after an Alex Mallari triple, Jayson Castro called for a pick-and-roll play with a forward. He’s done it so many times with Ranidel De Ocampo before but it was another long-time Katropa Kelly Williams who stepped up to provide the screen. Kevin Alas gave Castro too much space and The Blur launched a huge three that hit nothing but nylon.
The other TNT vets also made big players with Ryan Reyes getting a steal on the next play and Williams sealing the win with two splits from the line.
Although coach Yeng Guiao is the one known for his team’s balanced scoring, it was TNT who showed their own version of it with six players in double-digits led by Glen Rice Jr. who had 25 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, and five blocks even though he turned the ball over nine times.
The veterans had good games for TNT as Williams and Castro combined for 32 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals but it was the player who has always been tabbed as the future RDO who was named the Best Player of the Game.
Troy Rosario had 17 points, 12 rebounds, a steal, and a block in 35 minutes on the floor.
“Ibang-iba,” Rosario said after the game to describe what it was like to play without De Ocampo. “Pagdating ko palang sa dugout nanibago ako kasi wala yung katabi ko. Pati sa game, dati laging may nagpapayo sa akin. Kahit sa court, iba yung energy pag nandiyan siya.”
Rosario knows that people will look to him to fill the void left by De Ocampo’s departure but the athletic forward knows this was easier said than done.
“Mabigat yun kasi alam natin kung ano yung nadadala niya sa team. Mahirap punuan yung nagawa niya. Hindi kaya ng isang tao,” Rosario said. “Pero kailangan ko lang laruin yung game ko at yung mga advice niya sa akin dati kailangan ko lang tandaan.”
TNT 112 – Rice Jr. 25, Williams 19, Rosario 17, Castro 13, Tautuaa 12, Semerad 10, Reyes 8, Pogoy 6, Carey 2, Nuyles 0.
NLEX 107 – Fuller 28, Mallari 19, Fonacier 10, Alas 9, Baguio 7, Lastimosa 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Tiongson 5, Soyud 5, Quinahan 5, Rios 2, Ighalo 2, Taulava 2, J. Villanueva 0.
Quarters: 25-20, 50-46, 83-77, 112-107.
– Aaron Fuller had another big game statistically for NLEX with 28 points and 18 rebounds while Alex Mallari served as his main backup with 19 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
– Juami Tiongson, who was the Best Player of the Game in their last win, was limited to only five points for NLEX as he shot 2-of-11 from the field. He was also slowed down by a sprain in the first half.
TNT – Sept. 13 versus Star at the Ynares Center, Antipolo
NLEX – Sept. 24 versus NLEX at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum