TNT KaTropa appeared to miss its Gilas standouts less than that of San Miguel Beer’s lone national team representative as the Texters dealt the Beermen their first loss in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a 112-103 decision on Friday night.
Without Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and Roger Pogoy, Donte Greene shouldered most of the load as the TNT import exploded for 41 points and 21 boards to lead the Texters in stunning a Beermen missing reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo.
Larry Fonacier knocked down two crucial three-pointers that doused SMB rallies while RR Garcia also proved to be a villain against the Beermen in his first game against his former team as they also filled the void for the Texters, who registered a sixth victory in eight games.
“I think we were just fortunate today that wala si June Mar,” TNT coach Nash Racela insisted. “It’s nice also that while we lost three players to the Gilas program, guys were really ready to step up, step forward, and they were ready to contribute.”
“Of course, the contribution of Donte Greene was really phenomenal,” he added as Greene’s performance negated a similar spectacular showing of SMB counterpart Charles Rhodes, who registered 43 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals, and one block in almost 44 minutes.
Greene was more efficient in getting his numbers as he only took less than 38 minutes to reach his output for the Texters, who had led by as many as 14 points before allowing the Beermen to make a late comeback.
SMB came to within two points, 100-98, after a Marcio Lassiter layup, but that’s when Fonacier retaliated with his first of two triples, draining one from the right wing to give his team a two-possession lead.
After Arwind Santos stole the ball and scored on a breakaway that nudged SMB to within 107-101, Fonacier again came to the rescue as he buried his second trey within the last two minutes as the Texters survived the scare.
Fonacier finished with 14 points built around four triples overall, while Garcia added 12 markers, three assists, and two caroms in 23 minutes off the bench.
TNT 112 – Greene 41, Williams 15, Fonacier 14, Garcia 12, Tautuaa 11, Carey 6, Reyes 5, Rosales 4, De Ocampo 4
SMB 103 – Rhodes 43, Ross 17, Lassiter 17, Santos 11, Cabagnot 7, Espinas 6, De Ocampo 2, Heruela 0, Tubid 0
Quarterscores: 27-16, 53-42, 79-70, 112-103