KaTropa sustain scrambling run
When you’re good, you’re lucky.
The TNT KaTropa continued to live up to this popular hype as it stretched its unbeaten run to a record seven straight games in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations last week.
After rallying from 19 points down to roll back the Meralco Bolts, 116-113, late last week, the KaTropa overcame the resurgent Alaska Aces in overtime, 99-93, Friday with KJ McDaniels again leading the TNT onslaught with a combined 81 points.
McDaniels, bidding to finish what his former NBA teammate Terrence Jones failed to complete in the recent Commissioner’s Cup final against San Miguel Beer, unloaded 51 points against Meralco and then scattered 37 against the Aces in a steady show of firepower worthy of a future Best Import awardee.
But the KaTropa again walked the tightrope in both games before pulling through in a manner that recalled their earlier scrambling conquests of Phoenix (123-118), Columbian Dyip (125-120) and NorthPort (103-100).
Lady Luck continued to smile on TNT, however.
Against Meralco, which lost an early 32-13 lead, the KaTropa got away with their closest win so far when import Allen Durham, who had earlier scored 43 points, missed the game-tying triple in the dying seconds.
Alaska had an even better chance of stopping TNT which tied the game at 89 on a McDaniels layup with 6.3 seconds left in regulation play. On the next play, McDaniels allowed Alaska Jesper Ayaay to slip past him for an unchallenged layup that rimmed out and forced overtime. It was all TNT from there.
No team has gone 7-0 since the league grew to 12 teams in the 2014-2015 season and the KaTropa will be truly tested in their last remaining games that will be capped by a date with the Beermen on the last day of the eliminations on Nov. 20.
Next up for TNT is NLEX on Oct. 25 then Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Nov. 8 and defending champion Magnolia on Nov. 16.
With Manny Harris proving a deadlier replacement for Olu Ashaolu, NLEX had rolled back Columbian, 117-111, and passed SMB for second behind TNT at 5-1 last Wednesday.
The Beermen, who shipped Christian Standhardinger for Mo Tautuaa of NorthPort also last week, can tie the Road Warriors with a win over the Dyip in a game going on at press time.