TNT KaTropa relied on balanced scoring and defense to rout a sluggish Alaska squad, 92-78, and earned for them a quarterfinal berth in Season 44 of the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on Friday.
Roger Pogoy was on track, hitting 11 of his 24 points in the first quarter that also provided TNT a 23-15 cushion at the start of the second period. The KaTropa never relinquished its lead enroute to its fourth straight win.
But despite the huge triumph, TNT coach Bong Ravena said the team has not proven anything yet and would still need to work harder on their last two games against Columbian Dyip and Northport next week. The KaTropa are now tied with San Miguel Beer in third place with a 6-3 win-loss slate.
“Thank you for the win but [there’s] still a lot of work to do, a lot of progress to make. Our mentality is to take one game at a time and it’s a must win every game for us,” said Ravena, adding that they must be consistent with their defense.
“We haven’t proven anything yet that’s why we need to grab opportunity and work hard on defense so our offense will follow.”
TNT kept its double digit lead at the start of the second half, 47-38, before posting its biggest advantage, 85-65, late in the last period.
Troy Rosario scored 15 points while Kelly Williams contributed 11 rebounds and nine assists also for the KaTropa.
Carl Bryan Cruz posted 19 points for the Aces, who suffered their third straight blowout.
Alaska dropped to 3-5.
TNT 92 – Pogoy 24, Rosario 15, Heruela 8, Castro 8, Semerad 8, Cruz 6, Trollano 4, Washington 2, Williams 1, Miranda 0, Casino 0, Bono 0.
Alaska 78 – Cruz 19, Thoss 13, Enciso 12, Banchero 12, Teng 9, Ayaay 6, Pascual 5, Exciminiano 2, Baclao 0, Galliguez 0, Potts 0.
Quarters: 23-15, 47-38, 74-62, 92-78.