By JONAS TERRADO
TNT KaTropa survived a gallant stand by Columbian Dyip to produce a 118-114 overtime victory on the day assistant coach Eric Gonzales called the shots for the struggling franchise in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy and Terrence Romeo made the big baskets in the extra five-minute period as the KaTropa snapped a three-game skid that came hours after news broke out of Gonzales’ appointment with management claiming Racela being “on leave” after back-to-back blowout defeats.
Team manager Virgil Villacencio is unsure how long the setup will last, though the impression is that Racela has already coached his last game with the KaTropa.
Gonzales was quick to dedicate the win to Racela, but stressed that the hard part remains far from done.
“Marami pang dapat trabahuin sa TNT (There’s still plenty of work at TNT),” said Gonzales during his rare postgame appearance at the press room.
One particular change is the import as Gonzales confirmed that Stacy Davis will be replaced after failing to meet team expectations during his four-game stint despite a reputation as the all-time leading scorer of Pepperdine University.
Davis averaged 18.3 points but shot 33 percent from the field and was not fielded in overtime when TNT began to pull away.
“We’re gonna change him,” Gonzales said.
Castro, a disappointment in Friday’s 112-82 loss to Phoenix with only two points, fired 25 points, Romeo returned from flu-like symptoms with 22 points and Pogoy and Anthony Semerad added 16 and 15 points for the KaTropa.
TNT actually blew a 16-point first half as Columbian climbed back behind Jerramy King, import Akeem Wright, Rashawn McCarthy and Russell Escoto.
Regulation play ended at 107-all as Romeo missed a left-handed layup at the buzzer.
Romeo almost cost TNT a one-point lead in overtime when he was called for a technical for headbutting McCarthy during a timeout. But McCarthy missed the free throw, keeping the KaTropa ahead by a point, 115-114.
And Romeo made McCarthy pay by scoring a layup on the next play for 117-114 TNT.
Late in the night. Barangay Ginebra upended Alaska, 109-101, behind Justin Brownlee’s 45 points.
TNT 118 – Castro 25, Romeo 22, Pogoy 16, Semerad 15, Davis 11, Garcia 9, Rosario 7, Williams 4, Trollano 3, Cruz 2, Paredes 2, Carey 2, Reyes 0, Golla 0.
Columbian 114 – King 26, Wright 24, McCarthy 18, Escoto 15, Camson 6, Lastimosa 6, Ababou 5, Khobuntin 4, Gabriel 4, Cabrera 3, Reyes 2, Sara 1, Cahilig 0.
Quarters: 40-26, 61-48, 84-77, 107-107, 118-114.
Ginebra 109 – Brownlee 45, Aguilar 24, Ferrer 11, Slaughter 9, Thompson 8, Chan 5, Caguioa 4, Tenorio 3, Mariano 0.
Alaska 101 – Manuel 28, Harris 23, Banchero 21, Baclao 10, Racal 7, Enciso 5, Casio 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Teng 0.
Quarters: 20-14, 36-34, 73-65, 109-101.