TNT KaTropa finally nailed its first win of the season after beating NLEX, 85-80, on Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
RR Pogoy topscored with 20 points and hit the most important basket for the KaTropa - a clutch three-pointer after the Road Warriors came within two points in the endgame.
“Ineexpect namin ‘yun na he will make that shot,” said coach Bong Ravena after Pogoy's clutch basket sparked TNT to its first win in three games.
“’Yun ang pinapractice namin, design naman ‘yun. Alam ng mga players na we're expecting them to hit that shot. Basta stick to the plan, trust in the process, ‘yun ang iniinstill namin sa kanila.”
NLEX sunk to its third straight loss in a game that coach Yeng Guiao failed to finish after he was ejected on a second technical foul with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
Pogoy’s three-pointer put TNT up, 82-77, with 43.7 seconds left after NLEX came roaring back from 14 points down shortly after Guiao's ejection.
Poy Erram answered with a three of his own but Jayson Castro split his two free throws with 14.4 seconds left, 83-80, and Bong Galanza missed a shot at a tying basket for the Road Warriors.
“Both teams played well. Wala kaming ginawang iba kundi trying to get better,” said Ravena. ‘Yun lang target namin. We don’t mind the result. Masustain lang namin ‘yung pinapagawa namin sa kanila.”
The loss spoiled Poy Erram’s 19-point, seven-rebound, five-block performance - easily his best in an NLEX uniform. Galanza added 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting from three-point land.
TNT 85 – Pogoy 20, Trollano 15, Heruela 11, Reyes 11, Taha 10, Castro 9, Williams 4, Golla 3, Carey 2, D. Semerad 0.
NLEX 80 – Erram 19, Galanza 19, Paniamogan 10, Fonacier 8, Porter 6, Ighalo 6, Tiongson 3, Alas 3, Magat 3, Quinahan 3, Baguio 0, Soyud 0, Tallo 0.
Quarters: 23-21; 43-41; 69-57; 85-80.