TNT picked up where it left off, taking down the skidding Rain or Shine, 79-69, for its second win in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Friday, July 30 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Tropang Giga showed no signs of rust despite coming off a 13-day layoff due to COVID-19 scare as they dictated the tempo starting in the second quarter.
TNT underwent isolation after four of its players either tested positive of the coronavirus or needed a retest for confirmation.
Head coach Chot Reyes said they banked on their defense, well aware that they would not immediately get their offensive groove back after a lengthy break.
“We came in to this ball game looking to win with our defense,” said Reyes, whose wards limited Rain or Shine to a paltry 4-of-29 shooting from beyond the arc.
“It (incident) was a testament to the versatility and flexibility of our team. And we just focused on things that we can control which is how hard we practice during the break.”
Troy Rosario racked up a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds, RR Pogoy also poured 13 markers while newly-acquired Glenn Khobuntin chipped in 10 markers and five boards for TNT.
Fourth overall pick Mikey Williams, who missed the Tropang Giga’s 86-79 triumph over the Terrafirma Dyip last July 17, struggled with a 2-of-10 field goal shooting in his PBA debut.
The Fil-Am cager’s back-to-back triples and a free throw for seven points, though, pushed TNT to 79-63 and kept RoS at bay with 2:03 remaining in the game.
Khobuntin and Kelly Williams sparked an 11-0 blitz bridging the middle periods to hand the squad in black and yellow a 48-33 buffer early in the second half.
The Elasto Painters managed to threaten within 51-60 on Javee Mocon’s back-to-back hits late in the third frame, but Pogoy and Mikey delivered the finishing blows for the Tropang Giga.
Mocon bounced back big from his scoreless outing in RoS’ terrible 74-48 loss to Alaska on Wednesday as the third-year forward put up 22 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Mark Borboran was the only double-digit scorer with 12 markers for the E-Painters, who suffered their second straight defeat following a stellar three-win start to the 46th season.
TNT 79 – Rosario 13, Pogoy 13, Khobuntin 10, , Castro 9, M. Williams 7, Heruela 6, Alejandro 6, K. Williams 6, Montalbo 5, Erram 4, Marcelo 0
RoS 69 – Mocon 22, Borboran 12, Johnson 7, Caracut 6, Norwood 6, Torres 5, Ponferada 5, Nambatac 4, Wong 2, Belga 0, Santillan 0
Quarters: 22-19, 43-33, 64-52,79-69