Banking on its tested core, TNT upended upset-seeking Blackwater, 92-89, Friday in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Roger Pogoy came up big late, scoring the go-ahead tip with 1:48 to play before Larry Fonacier drained a huge three with 1:15 remaining to push the KaTropa ahead, 92-87.
The rookie out of Far Eastern University went on an efficient 11-of-14 shooting to lead TNT with 24 points, four rebounds, and three assists and provide the much needed aid for debuting import Donte Greene and foul-plagued Jayson Castro.
It was an underwhelming start for Greene, who had 22 markers on a woeful 9-of-28 clip from the field, to go with 13 boards, two steals, and a block, as he has yet to adjust to the nuances of the league.
“It’s really hard to know what to expect from our import, and you can even see it with our locals that they’re still adjusting with Donte,” said coach Nash Racela. “We’re being patient with him because this is his first time playing in the Philippines.
Castro got 13 points, three assists, and two rebounds, while Kelly Williams also fired four of his 11 markers in the payoff period, on top of eight boards in the win to improve TNT’s record to 2-1.
TNT waged back from a 75-63 deficit early in the fourth quarter as Pogoy and Greene willed the team back in the game and tied the score at 83 with 4:23 to play.
The Elite still had a chance to force overtime with an unlikely eight-second backcourt violation on TNT with 19.3 ticks left, but Nino Canaleta missed the potential game-tying trey at the buzzer.
Smith topped Blackwater with 22 points, 31 rebounds, and three assists, while Kyle Pascual and Ronjay Buenafe both had 12 in the loss.
TNT 92 – Pogoy 24, Greene 22, Castro 13, Williams 11, De Ocampo 10, Rosario 4, Fonacier 3, Rosales 3, Reyes 2, Carey 0, Golla 0.
BLACKWATER 89 – Smith 22, Buenafe 12, Pascual 12, Sumang 9, Cruz 7, Pinto 7, Canaleta 6, Cervantes 4, DiGregorio 4, Sena 4, Miranda 2, Gamalinda 0, Perez 0.
Quarters: 15-27, 39-41, 63-73, 92-89.