SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – The jerseys had a hand in it, perhaps.
Clad in their All Black Giga Mamba kits, TNT beat Meralco, 92-79, to rebound from last night’s loss to Ginebra in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Saturday night at the SMART 5G-powered AUF Sports and Cultural Center.
The Tropang Giga finally had their shots falling unlike versus the Gin Kings, allowing them to seize control of the match early and finish accordingly towards collecting their seventh win of the conference.
The flagship MVP franchise remained at second place in the standings with a 7-3 record, clearly on track for a top four finish that merits a twice-to-beat advantage for the quarterfinals set next week.
“It gives us relief that we won this game. This was really a very important game for us coming from back-to-back losses. It has been hard,” exhaled head coach Bong Ravena moments after the match.
Roger Pogoy finally regained his touch as he powered TNT with 27 points on a 50-percent clip, alongside eight rebounds. He only scored a total of 17 points in their losses versus Magnolia and Ginebra.
“Kagabi after the game ako lang mag-isa sa hotel. Nag-pray lang talaga ako,” he shared. “Nanghingi ako ng guidance kay Lord, sabi ko Ikaw na bahala. ‘Yun. Thank you Lord, na binigyan niya ‘ko ng lakas ngayon.”
Jayson Castro finished with 24 points although he failed to finish the game after being fouled out with 4:11 left to play, which gave a glimmer of hope for the Bolts, who were coming back from a 62-78 deficit that time.
The Tropang Giga’s primary playmaker left after the Orangemen cut their lead to nine, 73-82, but the ship remained steady as Pogoy, Poy Erram, and Ray Parks continued the fight towards the victory.
Parks finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the conference while Troy Rosario made 11 markers on 5-of-11 shooting — this, after going 0-for-15 from the field versus the Barangay.
“Medyo tense na sila from back-to-back losses. Syempre nandoon na yung pressure. We told them to relax and enjoy the game, focus more on our defense. Just keep moving forward,” said Ravena.
Chris Newsome finished with 17 points to lead Meralco in the loss that snapped the Bolts’ two-game winning streak, dropping their record to 5-4 and delaying as well an outright trip to the quarterfinals.
TNT will wrap up its elimination round campaign versus Rain or Shine on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 4:00 p.m. while Meralco will look to book a trip to the next round versus Terrafirma tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1:00 p.m.
TNT (92) – Castro 24, Pogoy 27, Parks 17, Rosario 11, Erram 4, Enciso 4, Washigton 2, Montalbo 3, De Leon 0, Vosotros 0.
Meralco (79) – Newsome 17, Hodge 14, Almazan 14, Amer 11, Maliksi 6, Hugnatan 4, Caram 4, Black 3, Quinto 2, Jamito 2, Jackson 2, Jose 0, Pinto 0, Salva 0.
Quarterscores: 29-19, 52-43, 73-62, 92-79.