The TNT Katropa drew huge contributions from their locals to end their two-game slide at the expense of the Meralco Bolts, 91-85, to pump more life into their win-once incentive hopes, Friday night at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Both the MVP teams sport identical 7-3 records, and currently share the third spot of the standings.
Troy Rosario led the Texters with 30 points on 12-of-19 field goal shooting, along with 12 rebounds. Jayson Castro supplied 20 points, six boards, and three assists, while Jericho Cruz chimed in 11 markers on eight shots.
TNT needed all the local support they could get after import Joshua Smith left the game with 6:01 to go in the third, as his nose was bleeding from an inadvertent hit from opposing import Arinze Onuaku, who was coming off a point-blank shot.
Smith exited with just six points and seven rebounds.
The Bolts tried to use that to their advantage, and even threatened with 16 ticks left by knocking within six, 91-85, but that eventually became the final score, as 16 seconds weren’t enough to stage a furious comeback.
“I’m just happy with the way we played especially when Joshua got hurt in the third,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela.
The loss wasted Meralco’s balanced attack. Chris Newsome led the Orangemen with 17 points and eight rebounds; Jared Dillinger and Baser Amer each had 12 markers; while Cliff Hodge chipped in 11.
Ranidel De Ocampo played his first game versus former team TNT, and had 11 points and six rebounds. Anjo Caram scored 10, while Onuaku was just three points away from a double-double, as he had eight points and 11 boards.
TNT and Meralco will both have the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters as their next opponent. Meralco will face them first this Sunday, June 24, then TNT next on July 7, Saturday. Both games are still at the Big Dome, and are set at 4:30.
TNT 91 — Rosario 30, Castro 20, Cruz 11, Pogoy 7, Romeo 6, Smith 6, Trollano 4, Semerad 3, Taha 2, Williams 2, Carey 0, Garcia 0, Paredes 0, Reyes 0.
Meralco 85 — Newsome 17, Amer 12, Dillinger 12, De Ocampo 11, Hodge 11, Onuaku 8, Baracael 2, Canaleta 2, Hugnatan 0, Lanete 0.
Quarterscores: 21-16, 36-38, 65-59, 91-85.