TNT KaTropa gave Blackwater a reality check, hammering out a 92-83 decision to get back on its winning ways in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Facing a team that was riding the momentum of a 94-77 win over title contender Barangay Ginebra, the Texters proved the Elite still have to be consistent against the other top teams as TNT proved steadier in the endgame to pull off the win.
Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro came off the bench and provided the spark after a disjointed start by the starters as the Texters got back to .500 at 2-2 and created a logjam with the Elite and four other teams.
“Going to this game, we knew that we were going to have a hard time against Blackwater,” TNT coach Nash Racela said. “It would take our absolute best, and today, they were really able to challenge us.”
“A loss was not really an option for us,” he added. “Malakas na talaga lahat ng team, so you really have to put value in every game.”
Blackwater underlined its rise to respectability after a stunning rout of the back-to-back Governors’ Cup titlists Gin Kings that came after a 92-87 win over another perennial contender in Rain or Shine.
But the Elite continued to have a tough time solving the TNT puzzle, losing its 10tht straight game against the Texters, who are now the only team the Blackwater has never beaten in its young history in the league.
Pogoy was the biggest thorn in the side of the Elite, tallying 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, eight boards, three assists, and two steals in almost 32 minutes.
Castro added 17 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks in 29 minutes, scoring seven points in the final frame, the last three on a reverse layup in traffic and a bonus charity that gave TNT an 88-79 lead, proving to be the exclamation point.
Poy Erram sustained his solid play, putting up 20 points, eight boards, four steals, and two blocks for the Elite that went for naught.
TNT 92 – Pogoy 24, Castro 17, Garcia 12, Semerad 11, Rosario 9, Williams 6, Tautuaa 6, Reyes 2, Golla 0, Onwubere 0, Carey 0
BLACKWATER 83 - Erram 20, Cortez 14, Digregorio 9, Belo 9, Maliksi 9, Jose 7, Sumang 5, Marcelo 4, Sena 4, Pinto 2, Cruz 0
Quarterscores: 15-16, 36-43, 65-57, 92-83