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PBA: TNT spoils Bolick’s NLEX debut, Asi’s celebration

TNT spoiled what could’ve been Asi Taulava’s night with a come-from-behind win over NLEX, 113-97, to arrest a two-game skid in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, Wednesday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

Much of the attention was on the 50-year-old and his final game, but the jersey retirement rites at the break seemingly gave the Tropang Giga added rest to turn in a strong second half en route to their third win in six outings.

“You can’t coach effort.” said head coach Jojo Lastimosa. “It’s something that should come from the players. The players had to decide na sa amin ‘to.”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 33 points and 16 rebounds. Calvin Oftana fired 29 points on five triples, while Jewel Ponferrada produced 12 points as the trio spearheaded the team’s retaliation from a 22-point deficit.

Ponferrada went on a personal 8-0 run to give TNT an 82-80 lead at the end of the third, and his teammates made sure that they’d stay ahead all the way

Glenn Khobuntin opened the final period with a three-pointer before Oftana and Hollis-Jefferson buckled down to work to keep pushing the lead further.

Key as well were rookie Kim Aurin and Kib Montalbo in that solid finish as both men enabled the Tropa to lead by double digits and cruise to the win.

Aurin contributed 11 points for a side that missed the services of lead guard Jayson Castro, who sat out due to a strained hip flexor.

TNT (3-3) will try to build another win streak as it battles the 1-6 Blackwater on Friday, December 15, at 4 p.m. at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

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Robbie Herndon, meanwhile, had a career-high 25 points to lead NLEX, who lost its fourth straight game following the massive collapse.

Stokley Chaffee Jr. had 15 points and 17 rebounds in the loss that ruined the PBA debut of rookie Enoch Valdez, who made 14 points.

Spoiled by the defeat as well was the first game of Robert Bolick since being traded to the ball club earlier this week. The former B.League import had nine points on eight shots, a rebound, and four assists in 33 minutes.

Now moving on without key pieces in Don Trollano and Kris Rosales plus Ben Adamos, the Road Warriors (2-6) will try to end their struggles versus the Bossing as well on December 22, Friday, 4 p.m. also at the Big Dome.

The Scores:

TNT 113 – Hollis-Jefferson 33, Oftana 29, Ponferrada 12, Aurin 11, Montalbo 7, K.Williams 7, Khobuntin 5, Cruz 3, Tolomia 2, Reyes 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Galinato 0, Tungcab 0, Heruela 0.

NLEX 97 – Herndon 25, Chaffee 15, Valdez 14, Ganuelas-Rosser 14, Bolick 9, Anthony 8, Nermal 8, Nieto 2, Marcelo 2, Taulava 0, Rodger 0, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 17-26, 39-58, 80-78, 113-97.

Written By

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

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