Castro, Erram clutch as TNT survives Rain or Shine in OT

Published June 23, 2022, 10:07 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

TNT leaned on the clutch baskets from Jayson Castro and JP Erram in crunchtime to survive a hard-fighting Rain or Shine side, 89-85, in an overtime thriller in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Thursday, June 23.

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Castro took over late in regulation, scoring eight points in the final two minutes to anchor a 10-0 rally and tie the game at 78-all and force the extra period before Erram scored two crucial putbacks in the waning minutes to take the nail-biting victory for a 4-2 record in the standings.

Troy Rosario finished with 19 points and eight rebounds while Mikey Williams was solid in his debut for TNT with 15 markers. Erram added 13 points and 10 boards while Castro scored 10 in the fourth quarter and overtime period to finish with 12.

TNT also survived a scintillating performance from Rain or Shine young guns Mike Nieto and Gian Mamuyac who scattered 19 and 18 points, respectively.

Tropang Giga head coach Chot Reyes credited Rain or Shine defense especially in forcing TNT to turnovers which allowed the Elasto Painters to build a lead that went to as high as 16 points in the third frame.

“Rain or Shine defense was giving us a lot of problems forcing a lot of turnovers. I thought our defense held up very well except it’s really hard to defend a fastbreak but we kept giving Rain or Shine opportunities because of our live ball turnovers on the fastbreak but like you saw in the end game kapag nakaset naman ‘yung depensa namin nastop naman namin sila,” said Reyes.

“ I think in the fourth quarter we were able to take shots and that’s our entire focus in this game, to take shots which means we’re taking shots and not throwing the ball over,” he added.

True enough, TNT held on to its defense and kept Rain or Shine scoreless in the final two minutes of regulation as Castro took charge for TNT offense with back-to-back triples and a layup to force an overtime.

Rey Nambatac who had 16 points actually had the chance to win the game in regulation but came up short on his three-point heave which left TNT with three seconds to plot a play on the other end. The Tropang Giga then went to Erram for a quick turnaround jumper at the post which he overcooked at the buzzer.

Erram, though, was quick to atone from that miss as he scored two crucial baskets off the offensive board – none bigger than the last one which gave TNT the lead for good, 87-85 with 1:10 left in the game. Nambatac tried to steal the game away from TNT but missed a well-contested three point attempt in the waning seconds as Castro sealed the deal with two more free throws.