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RR Garcia nails back-to-back daggers as TNT avoids Kia upset


RR Garcia dealt the biggest of blows, knocking down the biggest of shots in the final minute to aid the TNT Katropa dodge the upset ax from the Kia Picanto, 90-85, Wednesday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Katropa improved to 4-3 to grab solo fourth in the team standings, while the Picanto absorbed their second straight loss and dropped to 1-6.

It was surprisingly a tight affair all through out — Kia even had a 62-58 lead late in the third quarter thanks to a 13-2 rally. And for head coach Nash Racela, he rued the way the Katropa had played, even if they chalked up the win.

“The problem starts with the expectations. A lot of times you go to a game against Kia and people expect a blowout game, especially them having lost, I think two games by 30-plus,” said the second-year pro coach.

“But me as a coach… I was really focusing on their win against Rain or Shine that’s why I was saying as a team, they are unpredictable and dangerous. I don’t think our players got that message for today’s game,” he added.

Kelly Williams was a couple of rebounds short of a double-double, as he had 23 points and eight boards for TNT. Jayson Castro was all over the place with 22 points, nine caroms, and four assists, while Garcia had 13 and five.

The five-foot-eight Garcia made two straight lay-ups inside the game’s final 1:21 to douse cold water on Kia’s 13-2 rally from 11 points down. He also made a split free throw in the last nine ticks to preserve the victory for TNT.

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Sophomore Roger Pogoy scored just five points, but he made up for it with 12 rebounds. Troy Rosario had six points and eight boards.

Rashawn McCarthy paced Kia with 21 points, seven dimes, and four rebounds. Forward Jackson Corpuz was his only back-up as he filled the stat sheet with 17 points, eight boards, two feeds, three steals, and three blocks.

TNT played without forward Mo Tautuaa due to food poisoning. Meanwhile, Kia paraded new signing Carlo Lastimosa and sophomore Russel Escoto, who last played in January 2017 due to an ACL tear in his left knee.

Both teams will see action again next Wednesday, February 7, still at the Mall of Asia Arena. TNT will face the Phoenix Fuel Masters at 4:30 PM, followed by Kia’s clash with the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at 7:00 PM.

The Scores:

TNT 90 – Williams 23, Castro 22, Garcia 13, Torres 7, Semerad 7, Rosario 6, Pogoy 5, Carey 3, Reyes 2, Onwubere 2, Hernandez 0

Kia 85 – McCarthy 21, Corpuz 17, Galanza 9, Camson 8, Yee 7, Khobuntin 6, Lastimosa 5, Escoto 5, Tubid 3, Gabriel 2, Sara 2, Ababou 0

Quarterscores: 28-24, 42-39, 69-62, 90-85

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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