TNT hammers a 29th straight defeat on hapless Blackwater | Inquirer Sports
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TNT hammers a 29th straight defeat on hapless Blackwater

/ 05:15 AM March 05, 2022

A highlight slam by TNT’s Poy Erram over Blackwater’s Andre Paras puts the spotlight on a second half run by the Tropang Giga. —PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines–TNT picked up from where it left off. And, in a way, so did Blackwater.

The Tropang Giga returned to action with a 106-93 win over the Bossing on Friday in a game their coach dreaded, stretching their win run in the PBA Governors’ Cup after taking time off while its core served as ballast for the national team in a recent Fiba (International Basketball Federation) qualifying tournament.

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“I told the team that these are the games that I fear the most when everyone expects us to win and the odds are stacked in our favor,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes.

“These are also the games that I really dread the most, so all I asked was to make sure the other team doesn’t outwork us,” he added.

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The trepidation proved unfounded.

The Tropang Giga only needed to fight off late rallies by a team that had been kicked around by opponents all season long. The Bossing thus continued a league-record spiral, falling to their 29th straight defeat, including a tenth straight this season.

Blackwater is also on the verge of earning yet another badge of shame—one not entirely of its own doing. The franchise could very well become the first team to finish a season without a win. However, this season was shortened by the pandemic to just two conferences. Blackwater went 0-11 in the Philippine Cup, a record it is in danger of matching with league-leading Magnolia as its final opponent in the tournament.

Better than record

But Reyes said their opponent was far better than their dry spell suggested.

“Blackwater is a much better team than their record reflects. They have a very good import and locals who play hard,” the concurrent national coach said.

The records, though, show that the Bossing haven’t been simply losing. They have been losing big.

In the Philippine Cup, Blackwater lost all 11 games by an average of 17 points a game. The team lost via single-digit margin only twice out of 11 assignments. In the current conference, with an import to rely on for added firepower, Blackwater has lost by an average of almost 15 points an outing.

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Against TNT, Blackwater import Shawn Glover had 26 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists—all of which swirled down the drain.

The Tropang Giga soared to a 20-point lead and was still up, 89-72, after a highlight Poy Erram dunk over Bossing big man Andre Paras.

‘Rest those guys’

Blackwater did manage to cause some discomfort on TNT’s part late in the game, so much so that Reyes couldn’t buy time for his key players to stay off the court longer, especially those who put in time with Gilas Pilipinas the past week.

“That was actually at the back of my mind that’s why I really wanted to hopefully run up a big lead so we can rest those guys,” Reyes said. “Unfortunately we were not able to do that. Every time we got up by 20 and I was ready to put the guys on the bench, Blackwater would come back.”

Mikey Williams, who did not see action with the national team, led TNT with 23 points while Aaron Fuller, Roger Pogoy and Ryan Reyes pumped in 16 each.

“We were banking on the others who are a lot fresher to mainly carry the load. The guys who played in Gilas basically acted as stabilizers,” said Reyes.

TNT’s last game in the tournament was a 119-92 win against defending champion Ginebra last Feb. 18. Friday’s victory was actually the Tropang Giga’s third straight.

JVee Casio added 21 more for Blackwater, whose last win came in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga province.

TNT outscored Blackwater on points off errors (23-11), second-chance baskets (25-11), in transition (17-12) and even with bench production (44-28) to ultimately rise to 5-4 overall.

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TAGS: Blackwater, Gilas, PBA governors’ cup, Tropang Giga
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