TROPANG TNT turned to a strong final push as it rolled past Barangay Ginebra, 107-92, to sustain its surge in the homestretch of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Texters had been stuck in a see-saw battle against the fellow streaking Gin Kings, before turning it up a notch in the final canto to break away and register their third straight victory.
David Simon showed the way with 30 points and 14 boards, while Troy Rosario thrived in his new small forward role, catching fire to add 22 markers for the Texters, who moved above .500 at 5-4 (win-loss) to join the Gin Kings in fourth spot.
“Both teams came out to play, but we’re just able to play better in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said. “We were able to make stops and shots.”
The rivalry game had seen 17 lead changes and 12 deadlocks, the last at 73-all heading into the final frame, when the Texters broke loose behind Simon, who scattered 12 of his total output in the frame, and Rosario, who buried two of his five three-pointers in the same quarter.
In all, TNT outscored the Gin Kings, 34-19, in the payoff period.
Othyus Jeffers tallied 29 points, 16 boards, and six assists as the Ginebra import tries to carry his team in an effort that proved insufficient.
LA Tenorio’s string of heroic performances came to an end as he had an off night, contributing just five points on 2-of-8 shooting and four turnovers in 30 minutes.
TNT 107 – Simon 30, Rosario 22, Tautuaa 12, Castro 10, De Ocampo 8, Rosser 8, Reyes R. 6, Williams 4, Reyes J. 3, Ababou 2, Carey 2
GIN 92 – Jeffers 29, Aguilar 12, Slaughter 12, Ellis 10, Mercado 7, Devance 6, Caguioa 5, Tenorio 5, Marcelo 4, Thompson 2, Mariano 0
Quarterscores: 23-20, 46-47, 73-73, 107-92