Defending PBA Commissioner’s Cup champions Tropang TNT ended a three-game losing streak after a morale-boosting 108-96 win over the Phoenix Petroleum Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Import David Simon continued his impressive play for Tropa, scoring a game-high 33 points while adding 22 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.
Ranidel de Ocampo added 20 points, shooting 6-for-9 from three-point area. Jayson Castro contributed 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists as the Tropa improved to 2-3, while dealing Phoenix their second loss in three meetings.
“I guess everybody enjoys playing with him. He maximizes his teammates’ strengths,” TNT head coach Jong Uichico said of the team’s import.
TNT were on fire from three-point area in the match, converting 15 of the team’s 32 tries. Tropa opened the match on a 19-7 run highlighted by triples from de Ocampo and Castro.
Tropa asserted control of the match after that point, and were barely threatened save perhaps for a run in the third period by the Fuel Masters, wherein JC Intal scored five straight points to cut the TNT lead down to only 71-67.
But TNT poured 33 points in the final quarter, closing the game strongly to prevail.
Uichico noted the importance of avoiding another loss that could have pushed TNT even deeper down the cellar of the team standings.
The mentor added, though, that the win shouldn’t be a cause for any celebration just yet, but the team should build positives from the victory.
“Everybody contributed, everybody played well today. It’s the players’ energy and execution. Alam naman nilang (single) round robin lang. Alam nila ang importance of this game,” he said.
“We shot pretty well tonight compared to the last games. It’s only one game. We will see in the next games. We can’t say one lost game is down the drain na, or one won game is pataas na. But we should build something from this. I am more concerned with the way we are playing. Can we improve? Can we sustain? If we can take care ourselves, we can go a long way.”
Kevinn Pinkney, who replaced Kenny Adeleke, debuted for the Fuel Masters and topscored with 26 points, although he shot only 6-for-21 from the field.
Intal and RR Garcia were the only two Fuel Masters in double-digits, adding 16 and 14 points, respectively.
TNT (108) – Simon 33, De Ocampo 20, Castro 19, Rosario 9, Fonacier 8, R. Reyes 5, Ganuelas 4, Williams 4, Aban 3, Tautuaa 3.
Phoenix (96) – Pinkney 26, Intal 16, Garcia 14, Baracael 9, Pennisi 8, Wilson 6, Brondial 5, Lanete 4, Urbiztondo 4, Fortuna 2, Monfort 2.
Quarterscores: 26-21, 51-42, 75-67, 108-96.