Rosario hits key shots as TNT ‘D’ bares teeth
MANILA, Philippines — Bong Ravena wasn’t displeased after this one. With Troy Rosario hitting the telling shots and TNT clamping down hard on NorthPort when it needed to, the KaTropa on Wednesday night extended the best start in the PBA Governors’ Cup to five games after a high-wire 103-100 decision of the Batang Pier at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
And unlike their last victory when he talked to the media with a long face after giving up 120 points to Columbian, Ravena sounded a bit satisfied after this.
“[There was] a little improvement on our defense, especially in the latter part,” Ravena said after dealing the Batang Pier their fourth straight loss in a 1-4 card. “We really need to continue working hard, especially on defense.”
But it was not entirely about stopping the enemy in the endgame that spelled the TNT win. Rosario had a lot to say about it.
The Gilas Pilipinas mainstay scored 17 of his 22 in the payoff frame, including the triple that beat the shot clock with 1:06 remaining from deep right corner that shoved the KaTropa ahead for good, 101-100.
And after two good defensive stands by the KaTropa, Rosario sealed the win with two free throws with 1.7 ticks to go.
KJ McDaniels had 30 points and 18 rebounds in another sterling effort for the KaTropa, who are two wins up on second-running, Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer in the standings. The KaTropa and the Beermen are coming off a championship tussle in the recent Commissioner’s Cup, which San Miguel won.
It was a bitter loss for the Batang Pier, who played their best game since opening with a win a few weeks ago.
Garvo Lanete waxed hot in the second half, and the Batang Pier actually led by as many as nine early in the fourth period before the KaTropa got the lift they were looking for from Rosario.
Later, RR Garcia hit the decisive basket at the buzzer as Phoenix nipped Rain or Shine, 86-84.
Garcia’s basket came off a pass from import Eugene Phelps as the Fuel Masters collected their second win in four games. The Painters dropped to 1-4.
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