TNT KaTropa warded off Meralco’s gritty onslaught in the last period resulting in a 113-107 victory on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Governors Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
KaTropa weathered the Bolts’ strong third period that saw their double-digit lead reduced to 84-89 entering the final canto, and had to bank on the clutch plays of import Glen Rice Jr. to claim their fifth win in eight outings.
“I got nervous although it (Meralco run) was expected because you’re playing with probably the best import in the conference,” said TNT coach Nash Racela, referring to Allen Durham, who finished with 39 points, 21 in the second half, and 24 rebounds.
“It was really hard to defend him one on one, but my players were up to the challenge in defending him like Mo (Tautuaa), Kelly (Williams) and Ranidel (De Ocampo) for awhile. It took us a total team effort to make it hard for him in the offensive end,” he added.
Rice Jr., son of great former National Basketball Association champion Glen Rice, unloaded 21 of his 32 points in the first half and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Jayson Castro chipped in 27 markers to lead the KaTropa, who bounced back from a 112-119 defeat to GlobalPort last week.
From a 99-104 deficit with four minutes remaining, the Bolts came within 105-107 after Chris Newsome made two free throws with 1:42 left in the game.
But they couldn’t sustain their run as the KaTropa banked on Rice’s jumper and Castro’s two free throws to get a 111-105 separation with 57 ticks left.
The Bolts failed to mount another run to drop to 5-2 in the team standings.
Kelly Williams added 16 points and 13 rebounds while Roger Pogoy chipped in 11 markers for KaTropa.
Baser Amer was the only other Meralco player who scored in double figures with 21 points.
TNT 113 – Rice Jr. 32, Castro 27, Williams 16, Pogoy 11, Rosario 7, De Ocampo 6, Semerad 5, Reyes 5, Tautuaa 4, Seigle 0.
MERALCO 107 – Durham 39, Amer 21, Tolomia 9, Lanete 9, Dillinger 8, Hugnatan 7, Newsome 6, Hodge 4, Caram 4, Nabong 0.
Quarters: 29-17, 63-46, 89-84, 113-107.