By Jonas Terrado
(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. — Columbian vs Blackwater
7 p.m. — San Miguel vs Magnolia
TNT KaTropa got the needed breaks in the end to slip past NorthPort 103-100 Wednesday and extend its unbeaten start to five games in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Troy Rosario’s three gave the KaTropa a 101-100 lead entering the final minute before two non-calls allowed them to pull off the escape act and deal the Batang Pier their fourth consecutive defeat.
“Breaks of the game, but another escape for us,” said coach Bong Ravena, whose team had problems on defense during its previous two high-scoring affairs against Phoenix Pulse and Columbian.
Asked if there was any satisfaction with TNT’s defensive effort, Ravena said there’s still plenty of work to be done.
“We have no problem on our offense,” said Ravena. “We can shoot. Our import has been scoring. Our locals are scoring. Kaya lang naman kami nahabol ay dahil sa depensa, we’re not making many stops. So babalik pa din dun.”
Import KJ McDaniels had 30 points, 18 rebounds and five assists and Rosario scored 22 points for TNT in a win that came before facing sister teams Meralco and NLEX and Alaska in the next 16 days.
TNT led by a high of 13 in the first quarter 24-13 and took a 46-38 lead at the half when NorthPort responded in the third.
Garvo Lanete scored 11 and import Mychal Ammons added eight to put NorthPort in front 70-65 entering the fourth. The Batang Pier had two nine-point leads before the KaTropa made their run.
Jayson Castro’s triple put TNT ahead 98-97 with 1:42 to go but Kevin Ferrer responded on the other end with a three of his own for 100-98 NorthPort, 11 seconds later.
Rosario countered by knocking down a corner trey that put the lead back to TNT.
TNT would never relinquish the lead as NorthPort’s Sean Anthony missed a tough fallaway on the next play, though the Batang Pier protested that a goaltending should be called with McDaniels touching the net.
Referees ruled in favor of the no-call, much to the disappointment of the Batang Pier bench.
NorthPort got another opportunity to get the lead back when Castro missed a layup attempt.
Ammons got the offensive rebound off a Kevin Ferrer miss and was going for a putback when he was stripped by Reyes, prompting the Batang Pier reinforcement to vehemently protest another non-call.
Rosario drained two foul shots with 1.2 left before Anthony muffed a game-tying three at the horn.
Lanete scored 23 points but NorthPort dropped to a record of 1-4.
TNT KATROPA 103 — McDaniels 30, Rosario 22, Pogoy 17, Trollano 10, Castro 10, Reyes 6, Heruela 2, Carey 2, De Leon 2, Magat 2, Vosotros 0.
NORTHPORT 100 — Lanete 23, Ammons 14, Bolick 12, Ferrer 11, Taha 10, Anthony 8, Mercado 6, Tautuaa 4, Cruz 4, King 3, Escoto 3, Elorde 2.
Quarters: 24-18; 46-38; 65-70; 103-100.