ANTIPOLO – TNT KaTropa pounced on a shorthanded Meralco side, coasting to a 99-81 victory to build some momentum in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night at the Ynares Center.
Facing a Bolts side missing injured frontcourt stalwarts Ranidel de Ocampo and Cliff Hodge, the Texters zoomed to an early lead and never let up en route to the lopsided victory.
Troy Rosario, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday, typified the Texters’ hot shooting, knocking down six treys that made up most of his game-high 22 points along with 10 boards as TNT registered a second straight win and third in five games.
The Texters also added to the misery of the Bolts, who reeled to a third straight loss after starting with a win.
“We knew going to this game that meralco was undermanned, so ang mentality namin was to really take advantage of that,” TNT coach Nash Racela said. “Today, from the start to end, we were able to do that. The intensity level was consistent.”
One consistent aspect was their three-point shooting.
Apart from Rosario, Jayson Castro was also on fire with three triples, while RR Garcia, Ryan Reyes, and Anthony Semerad each buried two triples as the Texters drained a league season-high 18 three-pointers and shot 45-percent from deep.
One of those triples came at the four-minute, 31-second mark, courtesy of Garcia who connected from long range to give the Texters’ biggest lead at 22, 92-70.
Baser Amer was one of the few bright spots for the Bolts, compiling 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, six boards, six assists, and one block in 39 minutes in a losing cause.
TNT 99 — Rosario 22, Garcia 18, Pogoy 15, Castro 12, Reyes 10, Semerad 10, Carey 3, Hernandez 3, Tautuaa 2, Torres 2, Williams 2, Golla 0, Onwubere 0
MERALCO 81 — Amer 20, Dillinger 14, Canaleta 11, Tolomia 8, Newsome 6, Lanete 5, Bono 4, Hugnatan 4, Ballesteros 3, Faundo 3, Baracael 2, , Sedurifa 1, Caram 0, Salva 0
Quarterscores: 27-18, 46-36, 73-62, 99-81