TNT brings down resurgent Blackwater


MANILA — The TNT KaTropa Texters brought the soaring Blackwater Elite back to earth with a 92-83 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Not keen on falling victim to the team that beat title contender Barangay Ginebra Sunday, TNT used all the firepower at its disposal and its endgame poise to beat Blackwater, which has yet to win against TNT in 10 games since entering the league in 2014. TNT is the only team that Blackwater has not beaten yet.

The win enabled the Texters to tie the Elite’s win-loss record at 2-2. Four other teams (Rain or Shine, Alaska, NLEX, and Phoenix) have the same win-loss record and are all bunched up in the middle of the standings. San Miguel Beer leads the pack at 3-0; Magnolia at second (3-1), and Barangay Ginebra at third (2-1).

After trailing by as much as 10 points in the second quarter and by seven points at halftime, 36-43, the Texters began turning things around in the third quarter. They padded their lead to as much as 17 points, 76-59, early in the fourth quarter before coasting to victory.

Sophomore Roger Pogoy led TNT with 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals in almost 32 minutes.

Jayson Castro added 17 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks in 29 minutes. He scored seven points in the fourth quarter, capped by a three-point play that gave TNT an 88-79 lead.

RR Garcia and Anthony Semerad chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively.

John Paul Erram led Blackwater with 20 points along with eight rebounds, four steals, and two blocks while Mike Cortez had 14 points off the bench.

Rain or Shine 120, Phoenix 99

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters bounced mightily back from two straight losses with a 120-99 dismantling of the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

Venting their fury from the get-go, the Painters raced to a 39-11 lead and never looked back en route to their second win, enabling them to tie the Fuel Masters in the standings, both with a 2-2 win-loss card. ROS led by as much as 39 points in the third quarter. The Painters shot a sizzling 55 percent from the field and had 31 assists.

Sophomore Ed Daquioag played his best game yet for the Painters, top-scoring with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field in less than 22 minutes as a starter. Daquioag also collected five boards, five assists, one steal, and one block before leaving the court following a bad fall in the third quarter.

James Yap showed he still can shoot the ball after an extended scoring slump, firing all his 20 points in the last three quarters on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. He also finished with six rebounds and one assist in 20 minutes off the bench.

Dexter Maiquez and the comebacking Chris Tiu also played major roles in the ROS victory, with Maiquez scoring 18 points and Tiu adding 17, seven assists, four boards, and two steals. Tiu was not around in ROS’ last game due to a sore knee.

Rookie Rey Nambatac and Jewel Ponferada added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

ROS dominated Phoenix despite coach Caloy Garcia’s decision to bench the team’s star center Raymond Almazan. Garcia revealed he had a heated argument with Almazan in ROS’ last game against GlobalPort on Friday where he felt the Gilas player did not give his best effort, resulting in the loss. Almazan reacted by skipping team practice for two days, resulting in his benching on Wednesday.

Matthew Wright and rookie Jason Perkins led Phoenix with 17 points apiece in a losing effort.

Games Friday: Blackwater Elite (2-2) vs. GlobalPort Batang Pier (1-2) and NLEX Road Warriors (2-2) vs. San Miguel Beermen (3-0).