Reyes reaches into bench as TNT spills Blackwater
TNT stayed perfect after the PBA Philippine Cup restart, and the team that practically the entire field had its eyes on took a loss from the most unexpected of foes on Wednesday.
The Tropang Giga broke away from Blackwater in the third period for a 96-76 win, and San Miguel Beer, the all-Filipino dynasty of the last decade that faced another doormat in Terrafirma, went down in flames later, 110-104, in overtime.
In the first two games the league played in close to a month, the Tropang Giga rose to 4-0 but needed to ride out a bum start before turning back the Bossing. Rookie Mikey Williams scored 16 points and TNT dropped 37 points in the third canto to take the fight out of Blackwater at Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga province.
“Our objective in this game was to put together 48 minutes of good basketball and obviously, we failed because Blackwater outplayed us in the first 24 minutes,” said coach Chot Reyes, as the Bossing bounced back from an early 10-point deficit and even took a 43-37 lead at the half.
“Credit to [Blackwater] coach Nash (Racela) and his staff. They came out with a very good and solid game plan against us and gave us a hard time in the first half,” added Reyes, who needed to milk his bench to cruise to the victory.
The Dyip, meanwhile, battled back from 16 points down in the fourth period behind Juami Tiongson and then pulled out all the stops in the extension to win for the first time in five games and leave the Bossing as the only winless squad in the 12-team field.
Tiongson finished with a career-high 28 points, counting 10 in the fourth quarter.
Aldrech Ramos and Eric Camson combined for 30 points for the Dyip as they dealt the Beermen a second loss in five outings.
San Miguel was led by Terrence Romeo’s 28 points, with Arwind Santos shooting 19 that went with nine rebounds and grieving six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo chipping in with 18 points and 12 boards.
Romeo saw action for the first time since a knee injury kept him out of a couple of games before the tournament was shuttered again by the coronavirus pandemic.
CJ Perez’ first clash with his former team also turned into a nightmare as the former top rookie finished with just 10 points.
Relievers Brian Heruela and Dave Marcelo took turns in infusing life back to TNT in the third quarter as the Tropang Giga defense also held the Bossing to just 17 points in the period.
“Fortunately, we were able to adjust and our depth showed in the second half,” said Reyes. “I think we wore them down a bit with our pressure and our depth, that’s why we were able to pull this ‘W’ off.”
Simon Enciso led Blackwater with 14 points, but went scoreless in the last 14 minutes. It was the Bossing’s 13th straight loss since the Philippine Cup in the bubble last year.