TROY Rosario scored a career-high 31 points embellished with seven three-pointers as Tropang TNT beat Alaska, 106-99, on Sunday at the start of their PBA Commissioner's Cup playoff series at the Astrodome.
Further validating the Texters’ decision to trade for him at the start of the season, the rookie forward had the last laugh in his virtual duel with Gilas pool teammate Calvin Abueva, who led the Aces’ comeback from 15 points down that they failed to complete.
“You just can’t discount Alaska,” Texters coach Jong Uichico said. “Hindi ka makaka-relax.”
“Troy made big shots in the end,” he added.
The Texters can advance to the next round with a sweep in Game Two on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Rosario’s open looks came from the attention drawn by import David Simon, who anchored the Texters with 24 points, 14 boards, three assists, and two steals.
TNT looked poised for a breakaway win as they established an early 57-42 lead late in the second quarter, before the Aces mounted on a fightback that saw them not just erase the deficit, but take the lead momentarily.
Abueva scored six of his 18 points in the payoff period, including two on a breakway layup that gave them a 94-91 lead.
Rob Dozier, who finished with 22 points and six boards, gave Alaska its last taste of the lead at 97-96, before the Texters finished the game with a 10-2 run.
TNT 106 – Rosario 31, Simon 24, Castro 17, De Ocampo 13, Ababou 6, Williams 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Tautuaa 4, Carey 2, Fonacier 0, R Reyes 0, J Reyes 0
Alaska 99 – Dozier 22, Abueva 18, Eximiniano 11, Banchero 10, Thoss 8, Jazul 7, Manuel 6, Baclao 4, Hontiveros 4, Dela Cruz 3, Menk 3, Dela Rosa 2, Baguio 1
Quarterscores: 27-27; 57-44; 81-72; 106-99