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TNT staves off Mahindra, clinches QF berth


The Tropang TNT is peaking at the right time.

TNT was able to win their third straight game to stay in the running for the top two spots in an 83-78 win over the Mahindra Enforcers Saturday evening at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum in Palawan.

The Jong Uichico-mentored squad led by just six points, 66-60, going into the final frame. Back-to-back triples by Dylan Ababou early on in the quarter extended the lead to ten, 72-62.

“All games are important to get a shot at the top. Siyempre alam natin na pasok na kami, but we don’t want to be in the bottom naman,” said TNT head coach Jong Uichico.

D-League standout Raymond Aguilar, Mike Digregorio, and Augustus Gilchrist went on a 7-0 rally to cut the lead to just three wit eight minutes left.

Big triples by Jai Reyes and Ababou helped TNT maintain their lead as LA Revilla and Karl Dehesa were able to gain the touch. After a lay-in by Jayson Castro that gave TNT an 82-78 lead with three minutes to go, both teams were not able to score as the two imports were able to anchor their respective defenses well. A split on the stripe by Matt Ganuelas-Rosser with 8.3 ticks remaining gave the Blue and Gold a five-point cushion to seal the win.

“We didn’t play well today. We didn’t have the energy, we’re tired, but a win is a win,” said Uichico, as his squad lost a 13-point lead and needed huge baskets from Castro to seal the win. “We’re able to keep our composure and discipline, kept it together and kept grinding it out.”

Jai Reyes captained the win, knocking down four huge triples to finish with 12 points. Jayson Castro added 11 markers, seven assists, five rebounds, and a block, while Ryan Reyes chimed in 11 points, four boards, and three assists.

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David Simon tallied a double-double of 10 markers, 14 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks, giving Uichico a huge luxury to rest Ranidel de Ocampo, who was nursing a calf injury.

Augustus Gilchrist carried the Enforcers with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Karl Dehesa had 12 markers on a 4-of-6 shooting from threes in the defeat.

Tropang TNT (6-4) play their final game of the elimination round on Friday, April 15 as they face the San Miguel Beermen at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, the Mahindra Enforcers (4-6) look to lock-in on the coveted playoff spot in facing the Star Hotshots on Wednesday, April 13 at the same venue.

The Scores:

TNT (83) – Reyes J. 12, Castro 11, Reyes R. 11, Simon 10, Ababou 9, Tautuaa 8, Ganuelas-Rosser 7, Seigle 6, Rosario 5, Fonacier 4, Carey 0.

Mahindra (78) – Gilchrist 21, Dehesa 12, Revilla 11, Canaleta 9, Ramos 6, Aguilar 4, Bagatsing 4, Digregorio 4, Ballesteros 2, Guinto 2, Yee 2, Pinto 1, De Vera 0, Elorde 0, Webb 0.

Quarterscores: 23-21, 42-38, 64-60, 83-78.

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