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    Battle-tested RDO sparks TNT's epic comeback after taking charge in halftime huddle

    Apr 8, 2017

    TNT KaTropa coach Nash Racela didn't have to say anything to his wards at halftime even they were trailing by 23 against an NLEX side that could not seem to miss. 

    He didn’t need to as his players, led by battle-tested vets Ranidel de Ocampo and Jayson Castro, had it all figured out by then.

    Racela trusted his players to execute the right plays, and the KaTropa repaid their coach’s trust with a stunning 29-point comeback to eke out a 126-121 overtime win over the winless Road Warriors on Friday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

    The youthful head coach allowed his players to dictate the flow of the halftime huddle - and with De Ocampo and Castro setting the tone, a fired-up TNT squad came out after the break.

    "Nag-tanong siya (Racela) ng mga idea kung ano mga gusto naming gawin. Sinabi namin kung ano yung sa tingin namin na magwo-work pagdating ng second half. Ginawa naman namin, nangyari naman," de Ocampo said. 

    "Kalagitnaan ng third then papasok ng fourth, naging okay naman ‘yung laro. Naging maganda yung resulta dahil dun sa pinag usapan namin," he added. 

    That scheme worked to perfection as De Ocampo was instrumental in the second half fightback after struggling in the first two quarters.

    De Ocampo teamed up with Roger Pogoy in combining for 37 points in the second half and overtime to set the stage for a thrilling come-from-behind finish.

    "Nag-lead sina Kuya Del (de Ocampo), Jayson (Castro) at Donte (Greene). Sabi nila bawiin namin sa depensa. Dahan-dahanin lang kasi hindi namin kakayanin kung bibiglain," Pogoy said.

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    For de Ocampo, that second half rally was sort of expected from them - a secret weapon for situations particularly like that one.

    The confidence has always been there for the Gilas veteran, and he was happy that they vindicated themselves to their coach in the end.

    "Dati rin namin ginagawa sa game. Parang nahugot lang namin na barahang nakatago," de Ocampo continued. 

    "Malaking bagay rin yun na na-practice rin namin dati na matagal na at nagamit namin ngayon."

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