Getting twin digits from its starting crew led by the 38 points of import KJ Mcdaniels, TNT on Sunday ripped sister squad Meralco, 103-94, to draw first blood in their PBA Governors’ Cup Final Four series at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
The KaTropa defense was also key, as it held the Bolts to a lukewarm middle two quarters for commanding leads in the fourth, which proved too much for Meralco to overcome as TNT gained a huge psychological boost along the way.
RR Pogoy scored 18 points, Jayson Castro added 17 and rookie Ray Parks and national team stalwart Troy Rosario added 11 each as the KaTropa won big and will take some serious momentum heading into Game 2 of this best-of-five series on Tuesday also at the Big Dome.
“We are glad that we won the first game, but there is nothing to celebrate,” TNT coach Bong Ravena said, as he refused to get ahead of himself despite the authoritative win. “I feel that this is going to be a long series.”
TNT started out tentatively and needed to ride that strong effort on both ends in the second and third periods to pull out the win.
Allen Durham still scored 32 points even with practically the entire TNT defense focused on him.
And Ravena believes that winning two more games to get to the Finals will depend a lot on how his charges handle the Meralco import in the coming games.
Meanwhile, NorthPort shoots for a commanding 2-0 lead against crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra on Monday when the two squads that have the same styles collide.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and Ginebra coach Tim Cone, after admitting to being embarrassed in a 124-90 Game 1 loss, wants his wards “to be better next time” to avoid being put in an 0-2 hole.
“It was embarrassing. It was a very ugly performance,” Cone, with a long face and somber tone, told scribes after the loss—their worst this season.
“They beat us in all facets of the game,” Cone added. INQ
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