Mar 02, 2024

Bossing pickup second win, trip Tropang Giga

BLACKWATER continued to pull off surprises by fashioning an 87-76 shocker over league heavyweight TNT and taking the early lead in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Troy Rosario tallied 20 points while anchoring a solid defensive effort that enabled the Bossing to take control of the game as early as the second quarter, post a 20-point fourth quarter spread before easing up a bit in the end.

"Tonight was really, really a team effort. I don't use that loosely because it really is a necessity and a need when you play against a big team like TNT... any team in our league," said Blackwater coach Jeff Cariaso.

Indeed, a lot of other players stepped up for the Bossing after Rey Nambatac, who led their 96-93 stunner over Meralco last Wednesday, suffered an ankle injury in the first five minutes of the game that sidelined him for the rest of the contest.

RK Ilagan readily filled up the void and eventually wound up with 15 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and two steals while Christian David tossed in 13 markers.

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James Kwekuteye, Bradwyn Guinto, James Yap and even recent TNT player Jaydee Tungcab (four rebounds, five assists) did their part as Blackwater got off to its first 2-0 start in a tournament since the 2019 Commissioner's Cup.

"Like I said before, every game for us is really, the approach, is like a playoff game. We know that the focus, the intensity and the energy, it's different when you're in the playoffs. It's a level up," said Cariaso.

"So the ask of the staff to the players is to level up. It's just where we are. We have a young team, we're still getting to know each other and we want to figure out how to win games while you're figuring out your team," added Cariaso.

"So I'm really happy with the way the guys are playing and again all credit to the players."

Calvin Oftana notched a game-high 21 points but only Jayson Castro was lone other TNT player in double figures with 12 as the Tropang Giga failed in their own bid to follow up their 108-107 squeaker over Rain or Shine also two days ago.

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As coach Chot Reyes has feared, his TNT squad again committed the same mistakes that almost cost it the Rain or Shine game by committing 23 fouls that awarded Blackwater's players the bulk of their 26 free throw tries.

The Bossing muffed eight of those freebies but that proved to be of little concern as they managed to keep their composure on the other aspects of the game, even going on a 13-0 run capped by Ilagan's triple that gave them an 85-65 cushion, only 5:22 left in the game. (NC)

The Scores:

BLACKWATER 87 - Rosario 20, Ilagan 15, David 13, Kwekuteye 9, Guinto 9, Yap 6, Escoto 5, Sena 4, Suerte 3, Hill 2, Tungcab 1, Nambatac 0, Jopia 0.

TNT 76 - Oftana 21, Castro 12, Khobuntin 8, Galinato 8, Ganuelas-Rosser B. 8, Williams 3, Ebona 2, Montalbo 2, Ganuelas-Rosser M. 2 , Aurin 2, Reyes 0, Ponferrada 0.

QUARTERS: 16-17, 39-35, 69-59, 87-76.