The TNT Katropa sent the surging Blackwater Elite crashing back to earth on Wednesday night, putting an end to the latter’s franchise-best, three-game winning streak, 117-96, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The win improves the Texters’ record to 4-2, tied with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for the third spot. The Elite, on the other hand, dropped back to below .500 with a 3-4 card. Moreover, Blackwater dropped their ninth straight game versus TNT.
“Going into this game, we knew it would take our absolute best against to stop the three-game winning streak of Blackwater,” said TNT coach Nash Racela on the win. “It also helps na marami kaming tao.”
“Today, players were fresh coming off the bench. It really helped us,” he added, noting the return of Troy Rosario into the fold after a fruitful stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the recently-concluded 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.
Reinforcement Glen Rice, Jr. continues to impress for the Katropa, topping his team’s scoring charts with 31 points on 22 attempts. He also filled up the stat sheet with six rebounds, four assists, and seven steals.
“Slowly, he’s getting a feel of the league, how they call fouls here and how we play physical,” lauded Racela of the former Washington Wizard. “As long as he continues to understand that, okay yun sa amin.”
The Katropa started to make it their own show as early as the second quarter, with everything going their way on both ends. An alley-oop connection between Roger Pogoy and Mo Tautuaa gave TNT a 62-40 lead at the end of the first half.
It was then all TNT the rest of the way. The men in white’s cushion ballooned to as much as 28, 108-82, after Rudy Lingganay’s three with less than six minutes remaining in the payoff period.
Kelly Williams supplied 21 points for the Texters. Jayson Castro produced 11 markers, and Lingganay made 10 points off the bench spiked by two triples. Rosario only scored three, but contributed greatly with nine caroms.
Henry Walker paced Blackwater with 33 points and 18 rebounds. JP Erram also had a double-double of 18 markers and 13 boards, while Mike Di Gregorio chipped in 12 points on 12 shots.
The Katropa shot 51 percent from the floor, with most of their shots coming from the 23 assists they dished. Their effort on the defensive end forced Blackwater to 16 turnovers, which they converted to 16 points.
Both squads will play this Friday, September 1, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. Blackwater will face the still-winless Kia Picanto at 4:15 PM, while TNT will lock horns with the Globalport Batang Pier at 7:00 PM.
TNT 117 – Rice Jr. 31, Williams 21, Castro 11, Lingganay 10, Tautuaa 9, Reyes 8, Pogoy 8, De Ocampo 7, Carey 6, Rosario 3, Semerad 3, Golla 0, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0.
Blackwater 96 – Walker 33, Erram 18, Digregorio 12, Sumang 8, Belo 7, Canaleta 6, Cruz 4, Pinto 4, Gamalinda 2, Pascual 2, Miranda 0, Sena 0.
Quarterscores: 28-25, 62-40, 92-71, 117-96.