TNT destroys Ginebra; ROS scores
Chot Reyes wanted TNT to be better than it was when it last played a heavyweight in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations. Surely, an 88-67 bamboozling of defending champion Barangay Ginebra on Saturday—which allowed the Tropang Giga to stay on top of the heap and put the Gin Kings in a precarious elimination round situation—ticked that box for the mercurial coach.
“[W]e came into this game wanting to make sure that we exerted a better effort—that we made better decisions and we executed better. I think we were able to achieve [all] that [tonight],” he said after TNT rose to 8-1 at Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Tropang Giga, who led by as large as 24 against the Gin Kings, saw a six-game streak come to a halt last week with an 83-67 loss to San Miguel Beer.
Nambatac saves day
Meanwhile, operating in the background all game long, Rey Nambatac hit a tough runner over three defenders to lift Rain or Shine past San Miguel Beer, 95-93, in the earlier game, that snapped the Beermen’s two-game winning streak.
The crafty guard finished with nine points, frustrating their streaking foes, who were in control for most of the contest as the Elasto Painters climbed to 6-4 overall.
San Miguel, the all-Filipino dynasty of the last decade, tumbled to their third loss in eight matches.
“I already designed a handoff for him. But Rey’s playmaking? That’s on him. He’s the one who was able to go with his instincts and make that game-winning basket for us,” said coach Chris Gavina, whose side inched closer to snaring a playoff bonus.
Nambatac capped a gutsy fightback spurred by rookie Santi Santillan, who finished with a game-high 21 points, just two days after a breakthrough performance against hard-fighting Magnolia.
Mikey Williams starred once again for the Tropang Giga, tallying 27 points with old hands Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy all finishing with 13 or more.
The Tropang Giga’s victory put the Gin Kings’ title-retention bid in a precarious situation. The crowd darlings sank to a 3-5 slate and outside the Top 8. INQ
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