With Castro still out, TNT turns to de Ocampo in win over Ginebra
Without Jayson Castro, the bulk of the load for TNT lied on the broad shoulders of Ranidel de Ocampo.
And on Sunday, he proved once again why he is still one of the premier forwards in the league, leading the KaTropa past Barangay Ginebra, 108-103 for their breakthrough win in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup.
The Tanza, Cavite native took charge, when it mattered the most, pouring 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter after the KaTropa fell behind by 14 midway in the period, as they went on an 21-7 blitz to knot the game at 102 in the final 1:52.
With the defense hounding him, he then dished the ball to Kelly Williams for the marginal basket as TNT held fort on the defensive end and sealed the game at the free throw line.
More importantly, de Ocampo made true to his vow to Jayson Castro that the team will be fine as Asia’s best point guard rested for the squad’s first two games.
“I told Jayson that while he’s resting, we’ll do our work. It’s just how it is here. We’re a family: if one needs to rest, we have to fill those gaps,” he said.
And that teamwork showed, as seven players notched double-digits in scoring in the huge win, which pales in comparison to TNT’s loss against Rain or Shine on Wednesday.
“We saw our mistakes last game. Now, our teammates stepped up and did their part. The effort was there and they didn’t falter even though the lead got big,” he said.
With a win already chalked to its name, TNT now looks forward to the task ahead as it is set to welcome back Castro in its next game on Friday against Blackwater, as well as coach Nash Racela, who is finishing his obligations with Far Eastern University before he finally focuses full-time on TNT.
“It’s a good thing that we won while waiting for Jayson and coach Nash,” he said. “It’s a big thong that Jayson is coming back and we’re coming from a win.”
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