ANTIPOLO CITY—TNT didn’t begin the PBA Governors’ Cup as early as the other teams but it went straight to work turning back Kia, 106-96, Friday at Ynares Sports Centre here in Antipolo.
The KaTropa started their conference more than a week after the Governors’ Cup opened and immediately tacked on a 1-0 card while the Picanto languished at the bottom of the standings with a 0-3 record.
“To be honest we didn’t really know what to expect going to the game because, of course, we prioritized rest over practice,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela, whose team played six games in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
“And we really didn’t know what to expect from our import but I think the earlier we could learn to play with each other, and with the import, the better.”
Despite playing in only its first game, the KaTropa’s control of the game never seemed to be in peril.
Although TNT lost a 12-point lead, 95-83, when Kia mounted a 8-1 run to cut the margin to 96-91 at with 3:40 remaining, the KaTropa was quick to regain control of the situation.
TNT built another double-digit lead, 104-94, when Troy Rosario converted on a breakaway layup with 1:09 left in the game.
Michael Craig made a splash in his first game in the conference with 21 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists to lead TNT while Troy Rosario finished with a double-double of 18 points and 10 boards.
Markeith Cummings led Kia with 27 points but turned the ball over 10 times.