THE new name continued to bring good fortune as TNT Katropa held off Meralco, 98-95, to gain a piece of the PBA Governors’ Cup lead on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Texters, in their second game after rebranding from Tropang TNT, leaned on a late flurry before withstanding a late rally to remain undefeated and hand the Bolts their first loss in three games.
“It’s good we were able to hang in there,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said. “Hopefully we become consistent with the way we’re playing.”
Jayson Castro spearheaded the attack anew with 24 points, seven boards, and five assists for the Texters, who joined San Miguel Beer and Mahindra on top.
The Texters and Gilas star scored seven of his total output in the payoff period as he continued to pick up the slack with import Mario Little contributing just 14 points and 11 boards in 38 minutes.
The Texters’ Asian import, Mike Madanly, though, delivered 14 points in 20 minutes off the bench, while offseason recruit Kris Rosales also made a solid impression with 13 points in 21 minutes.
The Texters also shone on defense as the particularly put the clamps on Bolts import Allen Durham, who was held to just 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting after averaging 34 markers in his first two games.
Cliff Hodge and Jimmy Alapag carried most of the load with 18 and 11 points, respectively, while Jared Dillinger added 15, although he missed a last-gasp three-pointer that would’ve sent the game into overtime.
TNT 98 – Castro 24, Little 14, Madanly 14, Rosales 13, De Ocampo 9, Tautuaa 8, Reyes R. 6, Carey 5, Fonacier 5
MERALCO 95 – Hodge 18, Dillinger 15, Durham 14, Alapag 11, Jamshidi 10, Newsome 9, Hugnatan 8, Nabong 8, Buenafe 2, Caram 0, Faundo 0
Quarterscores: 30-24, 50-52, 74-74, 98-95