TNT KaTropa banked on the clutch shooting of rookie Roger Pogoy and Larry Fonacier to beat Blackwater, 92-89, on Friday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pogoy and Fonacier came through with important baskets down the stretch to lead KaTropa to their second straight win in three games and keep the Elite winless after four starts.
Donte Greene debuted for TNT with 22 points and 13 rebounds; enough to get the nod of head coach Nash Racela. Greene replaced fellow ex-National Basketball Association campaigner Lou Amundson.
“This is the first time that our import played in the Philippines. I believe he’s going to give us more of what he gave us today,” said Racela.
Pogoy unloaded 11 of his career-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and hit the go-ahead jumper to give KaTropa an 89-87 lead with 1:48 left in the game.
Blackwater came up empty in the next possession and Fonacier made it a five-point game with a three-pointer, 92-87, 1:21 remaining.
After Elite import Greg Smith hit two free throws, 89-92, James Sena and new recruit Nino Canaleta failed in their potential game-tying triple, allowing the KaTropa to escape with the victory.
Jayson Castro added 13 points while Kelly Williams netted 11 markers and eight rebounds for TNT. Ranidel de Ocampo had 10 for KaTropa.
Smith finished with 22 points and 31 rebounds, while Kyle Pascual and Ronjay Buenafe had 12 points each to lead the Elite, who dropped to 0-4.
Blackwater was seemingly bent on ending a losing spell after erecting a 73-63 lead via a 12-2 run capped by Mark Cruz’s jumper at the end the third period.
But KaTropa outscored them in the final period, 29-16, behind the stellar performance of Pogoy.
JOSEF T. RAMOS