TNT trumps Rain or Shine ahead of PBA playoffs
Playoff-bound TNT held off top-seeded Rain or Shine, 100-85, in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Joshua Smith outplayed his counterpart Reggie Johnson in a titanic clash to lead the KaTropa with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
“That’s a no-bearing game for them. I think in the first half, just by watching our players perform, they had the same mentality as Rain or Shine,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela, whose squad heads into quarter finals as the third seed with an 8-3 record.
“We had to remind them during halftime that this game has bearing for us specifically because over the last two weeks, we never had time to work on a lot of things because they were focused on Gilas.”
The Elasto Painters had already locked up the top spot before the duel while the KaTropa were already out of contention for a top two finish after the Alaska Aces beat the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday night.
Nonetheless, TNT still came out to win especially in the second half where it established an 18-point lead entering the final frame.
The Painters cut the deficit to as low as seven, 82-75, with 6:27 left before the KaTropa went on an 18-3 run capped by a three-point play by Smith, 100-78, over a four-minute span to put the game out of reach.
Troy Rosario added 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the 3-point area and eight rebounds while Ryan Reyes had 12 off the bench for TNT, which did not have the services of Jayson Castro (rest).
Minus Castro, Terrence Romeo took care of the playmaking duties to finish with 12 assists.
Johnson posted 12 points and 14 rebounds to pace the Painters (9-2).
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.