by Waylon Galvez
ANTIPOLO CITY – TNT KaTropa fired a season-high 18 three-pointers last night on its way to a 99-81 victory over Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center here.
Troy Rosario came off the bench to score 22 points spiked by six triples while adding 10 rebounds as the KaTropa posted their first back-to-back win of the conference and improved to 3-2.
RR Garcia had 18 points, last season’s Rookie of the Year RR Pogoy added 15 points, Jayson Castro contributed 12 points, four rebounds and three assists and Ryan Reyes and Anthony Semerad added 10 points apiece for TNT.
In registering the most threes made by a team this conference, TNT shot 45 percent beyond the arc after making less than 26 in the first four games.
TNT was also averaging nine made threes going into the match.
KaTropa coach Nash Racela praised his team for taking advantage of Meralco’s undermanned roster that led to the lopsided victory.
“We knew going to this game that Meralco was undermanned,” Racela said of the Bolts team missing the services of Ranidel de Ocampo and Cliff Hodge.
De Ocampo has been out since last season’s Governors’ Cup finals because of a calf injury while Hodge failed to see action despite being in uniform.
“They lack the people going in to this game, and our mentality was to take advantage. The intensity level was kind of consistent, that’s our goal as a team,” added Racela.
Racela also paid tribute to the strong performance of Rosario, who other day turned 26.
“I’m not really surprised the way he shot today. Again, we just have to look for consistency,” said Racela, whose team will next face the red-hot Magnolia Hotshot Pambansang Manok on Saturday.
Baser Amer had 20 points to lead Meralco, while Jared Dillinger and KG Canaleta added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
In the second game, Alaska stretched its winning streak to three as it downed a shorthanded Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83.
Alaska forward Vic Manuel finished with 18 points while veteran center Sonny Thoss added 17 points as the Aces improved to 3-2 while Ginebra suffered its second straight loss for a 2-2 card.
Greg Slaughter was in uniform but did not play for the reigning Governors’ Cup champion Kings.
TNT KATROPA 99 – Rosario 22, Garcia 18, Pogoy 15, Castro 12, Reyes 10, Semerad 10, Hernandez 3, Carey 3, Williams 2, Torres 2, Tautuaa 2, Onwubere 0, Golla 0.
MERALCO 81 – Amer 20, Dillinger 14, Canaleta 11, Tolomia 8, Newsome 6, Lanete 5, Hugnatan 4, Bono 4, Ballesteros 3, Faundo 3, Baracael 2, Sedurifa 1, Salva 0, Caram 0.
Quarters: 27-18; 46-36; 73-62; 99-81.
Alaska 97 – Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2.
Ginebra 83 – Mariano 15, Thompson 12, Ferrer 12, J. Aguilar 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, Tenorio 5, R. Aguilar 5, Wilson 2, Taha 2, Jamito 0.
Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.