TNT deals Blackwater 1st loss
Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum) 3 p.m. – NLEX vs Meralco 5:15 p.m. – San Miguel vs Alaska
It was good while it lasted. And for the Blackwater Elite, a third straight win at the expense of the only ballclub to win the PBA Philippine Cup three straight times may be stretching its fortune a bit too far.
At rock bottom in four of their previous six conferences, the Elite saw their bid to turn the world upside down and grab solo leadership extinguished by the TNT KaTropa, 99-92, last night as Jayson Castro and Mo Tautuaa combined for 40 points at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Both the Elite and KaTropa now tote 2-1 records, with TNT assistant coach Josh Reyes holding the fort until incoming head coach Nash Racela takes over full time starting with the Meralco game on Dec. 9.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted to, we only adjusted,” said Reyes, son of Gilas Pilipinas mentor Chot Reyes. “We need to come out every time with the right things in mind.”
It was Blackwater which had a clear idea on how to come off the gate against a powerhouse opponent: Hit the ground running.
Kyle Pascual had 8 points in the first quarter and rookie Mac Belo and Art dela Cruz 6 each as the Elite raced to a 30-21 lead at the end of the first.
That was enough to rouse up the KaTropa, who shut down the Elite’s top three scorers in the second quarter while sending Tautuaa, Castro and Larry Fonacier to establish control for a 50-46 edge at halftime.
TNT used a 13-point run to bridge the first two periods and seize the upper hand, eventually opening an 88-75 early in the fourth.
A loss to a multi-titled champion like TNT, Blackwater coach Leo Isaac said, doesn’t necessarily set back any progress they have had.
Belo, who keyed Far Eastern University’s UAAP championship reign last year under Racela and Reyes, had another big game with 21 points and 9 rebounds. But not even his 15-point second half performance could deny the KaTropa, who were steered away from turbulent waters by veterans Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo, who had 10 of his 15 points in the final 12 minutes.
Late in the evening, Globalport grabbed a share of leadership with Rain or Shine with its second straight win, easing up after a dominat first half against the Star Hotshots, 91-84. The Batang Pier led by as many as 21 before coasting.
“We were able to set the tempo, dictate the pace,” said Globalport coach Franz Pumaren, who got 24 points from Stanley Pringle (10 of 15 field goal) and 18 from Terrence Romeo.
Tautuaa 20, Castro 20, De Ocampo 15, Fonacier 11, Rosario 8, Rosser 8, Carey 5, Reyes 5, Williams 4, Pogoy 3, Hernandez 0, Rosales 0, Golla 0. Belo 21, K. Pascual 14, Pinto 14, Dela Cruz 12, Cervantes 10, Miranda 5, Ababou 4, Aguilar 4, Buenafe 4, Sena 4, Banal 0, R. Pascual 0, Forrester 0. Quarters: 21-30; 50-46; 76-67; 99-92. Pringle 24, Romeo 18, Canaleta 12, Mamaril 8, Pennisi 8, Quinahan 6, Aban 6, Cortez 4, Pessumal 3, Semerad 2, Maierhofer 0, Dehesa 0. Pingris 19, Ramos 18, Jalalon 13, Lee 9, Simon 8, Barroca 6, Brondial 3, Melton 3, Reavis 3, Maliksi 2, Sangalang 0. Quarters: 29-8; 47-32; 67-58; 91-84.