The TNT Katropa began life without veteran forward Ranidel De Ocampo by outgunning the NLEX Road Warriors, 112-107, in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
It was the first game of TNT since trading De Ocampo to sister team Meralco last Monday. But KaTropa didn’t have a hard time adjusting without him as they notched a 6-3 record and moved closer to a top-four finish.
Import Glen Rice Jr posted a triple-double of 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. He also had five blocks although he committed nine turnovers.
Kelly Williams contributed 19 points and eight boards as Troy Rosario, who has been tipped as De Ocampo’s successor at TNT, finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds in the wire-to-wire game.
There was no brotherly love between the two MVP-owned teams as TNT and NLEX engaged in a seesaw battle from start to finish.
Katropa held an 83-77 lead entering the fourth quarter but they couldn’t pull away as former TNT player Larry Fonacier sank eight of his 10 points in that period to lead the Road Warriors attack.
NLEX’s Kevin Alas tied the game at 101-all with 3:32 left. However, KaTropa scored six unanswered points capped by a Williams steal and layup for a 107-101 lead with 1:56 remaining.
The Road Warriors had one last run in them, pulling to within a point. But Jayson Castro drained a booming triple with 1:12 left to keep NLEX at bay.
Free throws by Williams iced the victory for KaTropa.
Aaron Fuller tallied 28 points and 18 rebounds to lead NLEX which settled for a 7-3 card.
TNT 112 – Rice Jr. 25, Williams 19, Rosario 17, Castro 13, Tautuaa 12, Semerad 10, Reyes 8, Pogoy 6, Carey 2, Nuyles 0.
NLEX 107 – Fuller 28, Mallari 19, Fonacier 10, Alas 9, Baguio 7, Lastimosa 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Tiongson 5, Soyud 5, Quinahan 5, Rios 2, Ighalo 2, Taulava 2, J. Villanueva 0.
Quarters: 25-20, 50-46, 83-77, 112-107.