TNT KaTropa stayed in the running for a Top Two spot and twice-to-beat advantage in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs after downing Meralco, 91-85, on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Troy Rosario dropped 30 points on an ultra-efficient 9-of-12 shooting on top of his 12 rebounds while Jayson Castro got aggressive with his 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists after going silent the past few games.
The KaTropa also endured the absence of import Joshua Smith from the 6:01 mark of the third quarter to snap a two-game slide and join Meralco in third place at 7-3 records.
Smith was accidentally elbowed in the face by Bolts counterpart Arinze Onuaku and was taken to a hospital.
“I’m just happy with the way we played especially when Joshua got hurt in the third,” said coach Nash Racela after the team moved a game and a half behind leaders Rain or Shine and Alaska.
Jericho Cruz added 11 in the win.
Caugt in a tight 65-61 contest early in the fourth quarter, the KaTropa put on their running shoes and used a 14-4 run to zoom ahead, 79-65 with 7:05 left to play.
Chris Newsome dropped 17 points and eight rebounds for the Bolts, while Jared Dillinger and Baser Amer both had 12.
Ranidel de Ocampo recorded 11 points and six boards in his first game against his former team.
TNT 91 — Rosario 30, Castro 20, Cruz 11, Pogoy 7, Romeo 6, Smith 6, Trollano 4, Semerad 3, Taha 2, Williams 2, Carey 0, Garcia 0, Paredes 0, Reyes 0.
MERALCO 85 — Newsome 17, Amer 12, Dillinger 12, De Ocampo 11, Hodge 11, Onuaku 8, Baracael 2, Canaleta 2, Hugnatan 0, Lanete 0.
Quarters: 21-16, 36-38, 65-59, 91-85.