Continuing the momentum they are in, the TNT KaTropa got their fourth straight win by handing the Alaska Aces their third consecutive loss, 92-78, to clinch a spot in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals, Friday evening at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The KaTropa had their first taste of a double-digit lead, 33-22, early in the second quarter, and that would start the one-sided affair that saw TNT lead by as many as 20, 85-65, with less than six minutes remaining in the game.
TNT improved to 6-3.
“Thankful for the win, but we still have a lot of work to do. We’re just taking it one game at a time. Every game is important for us. We have to be consistent, now that we have a chance for the Top Two,” said TNT head coach Bong Ravena.
Everyone but three Texters scored in the victory, with third-year guard Roger Pogoy leading the way with a game-high 24 points on top of three rebounds and three assists. Troy Rosario supplied 15 points and five boards.
Center Kelly Williams was just an assist shy of an odd double-double with nine assists and 11 rebounds.
Carl Bryan Cruz led the Aces with 19 points and five rebounds. Veteran Sonny Thoss supplied 13 points, while the backcourt tandem of Simon Enciso and Chris Banchero chimed in 12 markers apiece on a combined 8-of-22 shooting.
The Aces have been on a slide since thrashing Barangay Ginebra San Miguel 104-78 last March 3. Alaska has now lost by an average margin of 17.3 points in this current losing skid of theirs that dropped their record to 3-5.
TNT will look to get going versus the Columbian Dyip next Friday, March 22, at Ynares Center in Antipolo City, while Alaska will aim to end their funk versus the Meralco Bolts on March 20, Wednesday at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
TNT 92 – Pogoy 24, Rosario 15, Heruela 8, Castro 8, Semerad 8, Cruz 6, Trollano 4, Washington 2, Williams 1, Miranda 0, Casino 0, Bono 0.
Alaska 78 – Cruz 19, Thoss 13, Enciso 12, Banchero 12, Teng 9, Ayaay 6, Pascual 5, Exciminiano 2, Baclao 0, Galliguez 0, Potts 0.
Quarterscores: 23-15, 47-38, 74-62, 92-78.