TNT Katropa gave Star false hopes of salvaging some pride to its disappointing campaign before rolling to 115-105 victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The league-leading Texters turned to a second-half surge as they frustrated the eliminated Hotshots, who early on looked like they were playing as if they were still fighting for a postseason spot.
Jayson Castro spearheaded the attack anew with 21 points five assists, and three boards in 28 minutes, while Larry Fonacier and Mo Tautuaa led the bench mob of the Texters, who won for the ninth time in 10 games, while dealing the Hotshots their eighth loss in 10 games.
“We’re just waiting where we’ll end up, but in the meantime, we want to keep our momentum going heading into the next round,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said.
Fonacier and Tautuaa played their best games of the conference with the veteran gunner tallying 21 points and seven boards, and rookie slotman chipping in 16 points and six caroms in just 14 minutes off the bench for the Texters, who had eight players scoring at least nine points each.
Mychal Ammons also provided energy and hustle as the TNT import finished with 14 points, 17 rebounds, three blocks, two assists, and one steal in 33 minutes for the Texters, who completed a 24-point turnaround after building their biggest lead at 13 late in the fourth.
For a while, though, the Hotshots, despite being falling out of contention while being idle during Saturday’s games, seemed eager to pull off an upset as they established an early 11-point lead only to squander it in the third quarter, where the Texters outscored them, 39-28.
Joel Wright tallied 27 points and 17 boards for the Hotshots, who missed injured stars James Yap and Ian Sangalang.
TNT 115 – Fonacier 21, Castro 21, Tautuaa 16, Ammons 14, Rosario 10, Madanly 10, Williams 9, Rosales 7, Reyes 5, De Ocampo 2, Carey 0, Rosser 0
STAR 105 – Wright 27, Simon 20, Pingris 17, Barroca 10, Maliksi 9, Garcia 8, Pascual 6, Reavis 4, Mallari 4, Brondial 0, Melton 0
Quarterscores: 27-27, 50-55, 89-83, 115-105