Hot-shooting Rosario leads TNT past struggling Meralco
ANTIPOLO — TNT rode on its blistering start behind Troy Rosario and cruised to a 99-81 victory over Meralco Sunday in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at Ynares Center here.
Celebrating his 26th birthday, the third-year forward got things going for the KaTropa, unloading 12 of his 22 points in the first quarter. He shot 6-of-10 from beyond the arc while also hauling down 10 rebounds to steer his side to back-to-back wins and move up to 3-2.
Rosario caught fire early as he helped TNT grab a 16-3. The KaTropa led as high as 16, 34-18, in the first half.
Niño Canaleta tried to be the spark for Meralco, getting the Bolts to within five early in the third frame, but usual starters Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro restored order for the KaTropa.
RR Garcia chipped in 18 markers and eight assists, while Pogoy and Castro were still as equally deadly off the bench as they combined for 27 points and eight rebounds.
TNT shot 18-of-40 from downtown.
TNT coach Nash Racela, however, isn’t celebrating the win as much knowing that the KaTropa did what they were supposed to do against the undermanned Bolts crew.
“We knew going to this game that Meralco was undermanned. We knew that they lacked the people going to this game today so our mentality was to take advantage of that. From start to end, we’re able to do that and our level of intensity was consistent,” he said.
Meralco was still missing the services of injured forwards Ranidel de Ocampo and Cliff Hodge for the game.
Leaving much of the load on Baser Amer’s shoulders and the guard delivered with 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists in the loss.
Jared Dillinger came off the bench and got 14 markers, five boards, and two dimes, while Canaleta had 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
TNT 99 — Rosario 22, Garcia 18, Pogoy 15, Castro 12, Reyes 10, Semerad 10, Carey 3, Hernandez 3, Tautuaa 2, Torres 2, Williams 2, Golla 0, Onwubere 0.
MERALCO 81 — Amer 20, Dillinger 14, Canaleta 11, Tolomia 8, Newsome 6, Lanete 5, Bono 4, Hugnatan 4, Ballesteros 3, Faundo 3, Baracael 2, , Sedurifa 1, Caram 0, Salva 0.
Quarters: 27-18, 46-36, 73-62, 99-81.
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