ANTIPOLO — TNT avoided a collapse in the final two minutes against a pesky Columbian side to eke out a 101-98 win in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Ynares Center in Rizal.
Jayson Castro led the KaTropa with 20 points and seven assists, but they had to wait for two of Rashawn McCarthy’s game-tying attempts to hit iron in the final seconds to come away with their fifth straight victory.
TNT allowed the Dyip to climb from a 93-101 deficit with 2:50 left behind JP Calvo and McCarthy, whose triple with 48 ticks remaining in the game put them within three and well within striking distance.
A missed trey from a wide open Castro later kept the door open for Columbian, but they were unable to force overtime as McCarthy’s two misses, including a heave just a few steps from halfcourt that hit front rim, sealed the KaTropa’s seventh win.
Ryan Reyes and Troy Rosario added 19 points each for the KaTropa, who knocked down 14-of-43 attemtps from downtown (32 percent). The two combined for eight of those threes.
Roger Pogoy pitched in 14 points but struggled from the field (3-for-16), ending a three-game run that saw him lead the team in scoring. Kelly Williams, meanwhile, fielded another all-around line of 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
“In this particular game may mga lapses. Knowing the game, may mga situation, may mga lapses ika nga. But thank God yung depensa controlled pa rin. We made stops. Yun naman ang importante eh. We emphasized… particularly sa defense namin. We have to be consistent,” head coach Bong Ravena said after the game.
With no games left on their schedule, Columbian’s (4-7) playoff fate will be determined by how other teams will finish in the standings. CJ Perez paced the team with 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
The Dyip were able to win the battle on the boards, 61-53.
The KaTropa were able to build themselves a comfortable double-digit spread in the second canto after a Castro lay-in capped off a 15-2 burst that turned a 23-22 lead into a 37-24 advantage midway through the quarter.
But Columbian gave their foes some fits after TNT saw its lead evaporate to just one, 47-46, behind a 10-0 start by the Dyip in the third period.
TNT later tightened things up and regained control as an easy finish by Harvey Carey from a Yousef Taha dime restoring order by giving them a 71-53 lead in the before allowing the Dyip to come back again in the final frame.
TNT has one game left on its schedule, with a clash against NorthPort happening on Sunday, March 24, at the Araneta Coliseum. A win would help bolster their case for a twice-to-beat advantage.
TNT (101) – Castro 20, Reyes 19, Rosario 19, Pogoy 14, Williams 12, Heruela 8, Taha 4, Carey 2, Semerad 2, Washington 1, Cruz 0, Trollano 0, Miranda 0.
COLUMBIAN (98) – Perez 22, McCarthy 17, Camson 14, Corpuz 13, Calvo 13, Khobuntin 11, Faundo 4, Reyes 3, Celda 2, Cabrera 0, Escoto 0, Cahilig 0.
Quarters: 20-19, 47-37, 80-67, 101-98.