ANTIPOLO – Jayson Castro came through in desperate times as TNT averted disaster at the hands of a gritty Converge side, 86-83, to get back on track in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup, Sunday evening at the Ynares Center here.
The veteran floor general nailed the go-ahead shot over a phalanx of defenders with 2.6 seconds left, making the FiberXers pay dearly after RK Ilagan muffed both of his free throws that could have iced the game for his side.
Castro, who hurt his right shoulder early in the fourth, led the way with 17 points, on top of four rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and a steal as the Tropang Giga saved themselves from a 15-point meltdown.
“I was very satisfied. I was really satisfied with our effort. I thought we defended pretty well considering how well Converge has been playing lately,” offered head coach Chot Reyes as his crew improved to 2-1.
Glenn Khobuntin supplied 15 points in the win. Troy Rosario notched 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Roger Pogoy made 12 points. JJay Alejandro chimed in 10, including the freebies that settled the final count.
The Tropa nearly wasted the 24-9 start they had as Converge rallied and eventually took the lead, 78-76, behind Maverick Ahanmisi with 2:45 to go.
Castro was there to give his squad the lead back with a triple but Ilagan answered, nailing a pullup jumper for the 83-82 edge with 22.9 left. The FiberXers even regained the ball after forcing an inbound violation.
Luck, however, sided with TNT. Ilagan missed his foul shots, allowing Castro to nail the game’s most important bucket that eventually led to the W.
“We were fortunate that they missed their free throws as well, and we pulled off the W, thanks to this guy beside me who just found a way to score on that final offensive,” said Reyes, while pointing to Castro.
TNT will look to build a streak against NLEX (1-1) in a battle of MVP teams on Thursday, June 16, at 5:15 p.m. still here.
Mike Tolomia had 17 points to lead Converge, who fell short in earning another upset after beating Magnolia in overtime last Friday.
Ahanmisi and Kevin Racal finished with 15 points apiece for the FiberXers, who absorbed their second loss in three outings.
Converge returns to action on Thursday as well, where it will face another MVP-owned team in Meralco (1-0) at 7:15 p,m.
TNT 86 – Castro 17, Khobuntin 15, Rosario 13, Pogoy 12, Alejandro 10, Erram 9, Reyes 6, K. Williams 4, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Converge 83 – Tolomia 17, Ahanmisi 15, Racal 15, Arana 9, Teng 8, Ambohot 5, Hill 4, Ilagan 2, Murrell 2, Bulanadi 2, Digregorio 2, Adamos 2.
Quarterscores: 24-12, 40-36, 63-57, 86-83.
The second game of each gameday is also live-streamed on SMART Sports.