TNT KaTropa refused to give NLEX any favors as it came alive when it mattered most to pull off a stunning 126-121 victory in overtime and build momentum in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Texters climbed out of a deep 29-point hole in the third quarter, tightening the defensive screws in the fourth and overtime periods to pull off the biggest comeback in franchise history.
Jayson Castro stood at the forefront of the fightback, finishing with 32 points and 11 assists as the Texters registered a third straight victory after starting the conference with a loss, while keeping the Road Warriors stuck at the bottom without a win in five games.
“It wasn’t a nice win,” TNT coach Nash Racela insisted. “We played without a mentality to play defense early…so the lesson here is we cannot choose kung kailan kami maglalaro.”
One could understand the disappointment of the young mentor as his wards appeared ready to grant the Road Warriors their first win of the conference as their sister team to score 42 points in the first quarter and establish a lead that ballooned to 89-60 early in the third period.
But the Texters turned it up a notch in the fourth quarter where they outscored the Road Warriors, 30-12.
Ranidel de Ocampo knocked down a triple from the left corner to knot the count at 113 and send the game into overtime, before Castro opened the extra session with a bucket to give the Texters their first taste of the lead all-game long.
Donte Greene then hit two free throws, before Roger Pogoy buried a right-wing trey that capped off a 10-0 blast that took the fight out of the Road Warriors.
Greene added 26 points and 16 boards, De Ocampo and Pogoy also breached the 20-point barrier, while Troy Rosario was the other TNT player who scored in twin digits with 16, including a bunch from the foul line that kept the Texters within striking distance in the fourth.
Wayne Chism tallied 35 points and 21 boards to lead the Road Warriors in a losing effort.
TNT 126 – Castro 32, Greene 26, De Ocampo 22, Pogoy 20, Rosario 16, Williams 6, Fonacier 2, Carey 2, Rosales 0, Reyes 0, Tamsi 0
NLEX 121 – Chism 35, Alas 19, Lastimosa 13, Tiongson 10, Camson 7, Khobuntin 7, Al-Hussaini 7, Anthony 6, Taulava 4, Rios 3, Guinto 3, J. Villanueva 2, Soyud 2, Baracael 2, Lanete 1
Quarterscores: 22-42, 53-76, 83-101, 113-113, 126-121