TNT KaTropa stayed on course to claiming playoffs top seeding after dumping out-of-it-all the Star Hotshots, 115-105, in the PBA Governors Cup at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Sunday night.
Befuddled by the Hotshots’ run-and-gun game early on, the Texters made the adjustments and turned things around in the second half on the way to their ninth win against a lone defeat.
A possible win by Barangay Ginebra versus Phoenix Fuel Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo will set the stage for a virtual playoff match for top honors in the elims between the Texters and the Gin Kings at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan, Laguna Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Hotshots, though out of playoff contention, waged a gallant effort but came up short, absorbing an eighth loss against two wins in the end.
They play their farewell game in the conference and in the season versus the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Friday also at MOA Arena.
After a shaky start, the Texters buckled down to work in the second half and overwhelmed the Hotshots with a massive attack.
Starters Jason Castro, Mychal Ammons and Troy Rosario delivered double-digit numbers and so did second stringers Larry Fonacier, Moala Tautuaa and Michael Madanly.
Castro and Fonacier shared scoring honors for the team with 21 each while Ammons had a double-double game with 14 markers and 17 boards for the Texters who charged strong from a five-point halftime en route to the 10-point triumph.
Fonacier went 8-of-11 from the field, including three treys for his highest output in a game this conference.
Also putting in at least 10 points are Madanly, Rosario and Tautuaa.
Joel Wright paced the losing team with 27 points and 17 rebounds.
Determined to run from the very beginning, the Hotshots enjoyed a 20-7 advantage on fastbreak points as they took the half at 55-50.
PJ Simon came out strong, scoring nine markers in the opening quarter.
Wright and Mark Pingris then took over in the second quarter and they had combined for 25 points and 14 rebounds by the half.
TNT 115 – Fonacier 21, Castro 21, Tautuaa 16, Ammons 14, Rosario 10, Madanly 10, Williams 9, Rosales 7, Reyes 5, De Ocampo 2, Carey 0, Rosser 0.
STAR 105 – Wright 27, Simon 20, Pingris 17, Barroca 10, Maliksi 9, Garcia 8, Pascual 6, Reavis 4, Mallari 4, Brondial 0, Melton 0.
Quarterscores: 27-27, 50-55, 89-83, 115-105