TALK ‘N Text steadied on offense to beat Alaska, 92-78, bolstering its bid for a possible Top 2 finish in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The KaTropa pulled away late in the opening period, but still had to sustain well their offensive to repulse the Aces’ repeated comebacks and pick up their fourth straight win.
The KaTropa have now clinched their sixth win overall in nine outings, and with still two games to play in the 11-game elimination round (against Columbian Dyip on Friday and vs. NorthPort on March 24), they are well in a position to finish top two, but that would still depend on how Phoenix, Rain or Shine and San Miguel will fare in their remaining outings.
The Aces reeled to their third straight loss and fell to 3-5, their bid for a spot in the 8-team quarterfinal now in serious jeopardy.
All is not lost though for the Aces’ playoff bid, provided they will sweep their last three outings against Meralco on Wednesday, San Miguel Beer on March 24, and NorthPort on March 27.
Only Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario finished in double figures for TNT, with 24 and 15 points, respectively, but the rest of the team managed to contribute well in sheer show by TNT of its balance scoring.
The KaTropa built a 74-62 lead at the end of the third, and stretched it to as many as 85-65 as they broke the backs of the Aces in the fourth period.
Back-to-back baskets by Jayson Castro and a split freethrow by Roger Pogoy gave the KaTropa a 23-15 lead at the end of the first period.
The Aces opened the second period with two consecutive baskets by MJ Ayaay and Simon Enciso had the Aces trimming the TNT lead to 23-19, but the KaTropa countered with a 10-3 binge highlighted by Harvey Carey’s three-point play and Ryan Reyes’ triple to build a 33-22 lead.
The Aces fought back, unloading a 14-5 blitz where Carl Bryan Cruz chipped in two straight triples as Alaska came to within 40-36, before TNT retaliated for a 47-38 lead at the half.
San Miguel Beer meanwhile, tries to keep its hot streak going as it takes on Phoenix Pulse in a lone Petron Saturday Special today at the Panabo Multi-Purpose Tourism, Sports and Cultural Center in Davao Del Norte.
TNT (92) - Pogoy 24, Rosario 15, Heruela 8, Castro 8, Semerad 8, Cruz 6, Ryan Reyes 6, Trollano 4, Carey 3, Washington 2, Williams 1, Miranda 0, Casino 0, Bono 0.
Alaska (78) - Cruz 19, Thoss 13, Enciso 12, Banchero 12, Teng 9, Ayaay 6, Pascual 5, Exciminiano 2, Baclao 0, Galliguez 0, Potts 0.
Quarterscores: 23-15, 47-38, 74-62, 92-78.