ANTIPOLO - TNT KaTropa continued its hot start on Friday night, turning back a brave Alaska side for a 120-118 win in the PBA Governors' Cup at the Ynares Center.
Jayson Castro capped his game-long brilliance with the game's final point from the free throw line as TNT barely held on in the face of a barrage of late three-pointers from Alaska veteran Dondon Hontiveros.
Castro led five TNT players in double figures as he erupted for 26 points including two of the team's seven three-pointers in the final period.
Mo Tautaa contributed 18 points, Ranidel de Ocampo had 17, while Syrian import Michael Madanly and Ryan Reyes added 15 apiece as the KaTropa remained unbeaten in three games to join Mahindra at the top of the leaderboard.
TNT coach Jong Uichico said he is pleased with the attitude and confidence of a team that has bombed out in the season's first two conferences.
"Basta lang we play with this kind of attitude, same kumpyansa," said Uichico, whose team shot seven three-pointers in the final period alone.
De Ocampo dropped five straight points to give TnT a 118-112 lead with 21.1 ticks left but the Aces refused to fold as Hontiveros hit back-to-back treys that brought them within a point, 119-118, with 3.1 seconds left.
Castro's split from the line with 2.5 seconds left kept the door open for Alaska, but Aces import LaDontae Henton failed to get a shot off from near the half court line as time expired.
Alaska was paced by Henton's 35 points as it slipped to 1-2 in the absence of Calvin Abueva, who served out a one-game suspension for an elbow to Ginebra guard Chris Ellis' face.
Hontiveros fired 22 points, while RJ Jazul and Chris Banchero chipped in 19 and 18 markers, respectively.
TnT import Mario Little had 12 markers, but his presence was hardly felt in the final period.