Big win by TNT
Coach Nash Racela walked inside the pressroom after the TNT KaTropa’s 112-103 victory over erstwhile undefeated San Miguel Beer in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Despite the win, which snapped the Beermen’s five-game winning streak, Racela was hardly satisfied.
“I think we were just fortunate tonight that June Mar Fajardo did not play,” said Racela before anyone could ask a question.
Before the game started, TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio expressed concern about their chance to beat SMB without the three players the team loaned to the Gilas program.
He said Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy are good for 30 to 40 points combined per game and losing them was a big disadvantage to TNT.
The trio, just like the 6-foot-10 Fajardo, will play for Gilas in the Seaba Championships from May 12 to 18 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But the KaTropa’s other players—Kelly Williams, Larry Fonacier, RR Garcia and Moala Tautuaa—managed to step up and submit double figures.
“Since we lost three players to Gilas, our forwards had to step up,” said Racela.
Aside from losing Fajardo, San Miguel’s woes were compounded by the poor shooting of Alex Cabagnot, who normally delivers in the clutch. Cabagnot played more than 37 minutes and scored just seven points.
The Texters, who led by as many as 14 points, also outrebounded the Beermen, 58-46.
In the last two minutes of the game, the Beermen threatened KaTropa for the last time but Fonacier’s back-to-back triples secured their sixth win in eight games.
It was Fonacier’s last game with TNT as he was traded to NLEX. However, he will not be able to play with the Road Warriors because he will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs in his right foot.
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