TNT torches Alaska as Rosario, Tautuaa, Castro catch fire


Saudi Gazette

MANILA — The TNT KaTropa Texters turned to their twin towers Troy Rosario and Mo Tautuaa and their biggest star Jayson Castro to hack out a 106-98 victory over the hapless Alaska Aces in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Friday night.

The 6’7” Rosario led the Texters with 19 points, including five three-pointers, on top of eight rebounds in 33 minutes. Tautuaa, TNT’s 6’8” center-forward, also had his first high-scoring game for TNT in a long while, finishing with 18 points, including two rare triples, along with eight boards in less than 24 minutes off the bench.

Castro was his usual cat-quick, wily self, tallying 18 points, including 13 in the second half, along with six boards, five assists, and three steals in 30 minutes. RR Garcia added 11 markers off the bench.

As a result, the Texters scored their first victory after starting the season with a loss to Rain or Shine last week.

The Aces continued their scoring slump that started last season as they absorbed a second straight loss in as many games. The loss negated the heroics of rookie Jeron Teng, who led Alaska with 28 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals, and one block, without committing a single turnover in 30 minutes as a starter.

JVee Casio added 17 points while Calvin Abueva finished with 16 points.

Blackwater 92, Rain or Shine 87

The Blackwater Elite set two milestones in its 92-87 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Friday night, beating ROS for the first time in 12 meetings and winning their first game at the Cuneta Astrodome since they joined the league in 2014.

Former Gilas standout Mac Belo also appeared to have regained his deadly form after languishing for an entire season following a knee injury. The 6’4” combo forward led the Elite with a game-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including five three-pointers, along with seven rebounds, two blocks, and one assist in over 36 minutes as a starter. Belo’s last triple gave Blackwater a five-point edge, 90-85, with 1:39 left, a lead that proved to be much for the shorthanded Painters to overcome. ROS played minus three injured players: Maverick Ahanmisi, Jericho Cruz, and Jay Washington.

Mike DiGregorio also sparkled for Blackwater, firing 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, four assists, three boards, and two steals in 35 minutes.

Third overall rookie draft pick Raymar Jose also proved his worth, finishing with 12 points and eight boards in 20 minutes. Allein Maliksi added 10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and one steal.

The Elite also showed their defensive toughness, shackling ROS gunners. Chris Tiu emerged as the top scorer for the Painters with 14 points, Gabe Norwood and Ed Daquioag added 13 points apiece, while Raymond Almazan chipped in 10.

Games Sunday: NLEX Road Warriors (2-0) vs. Phoenix Fuel Masters (1-1) and GlobalPort Batang Pier (0-1) vs Barangay Ginebra Kings (1-0).