THE TNT Tropang Giga gifted coach Chot Reyes with a hard-earned 84-80 win over Phoenix Super LPG on his 58th birthday for a 3-0 card in the 46th PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Troy Rosario caught fire late as the Tropang Giga pulled through after chasing the hot-starting Fuel Masters most of the way.
Rosario punched in 10 of his 15 points in the last six minutes, including the go-ahead tip-in, plus eight rebounds to power TNT to the come-from-behind victory that cemented their hold of second spot behind 4-0 Magnolia.
It was a 48-minute struggle for the Tropang Giga, who trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and even faced a 70-77 deficit before the Rosario-led 14-3 windup.
"I thought Phoenix came in with an excellent game plan. They prepared for us really well, they knew exactly how we wanted to do things," said Reyes.
"We started the game really, really flat. I guess just the rigors of playing a game two days ago and with a one-day break (is taking its toll). We're not yet at the stage where we play successive games well at this point," added Reyes, whose team beat Rain or Shine last Friday after a two-week layoff due to the league's health and safety protocols.
RR Pogoy (13), Jayson Castro (10 points and nine dimes) and rookie Mikey Williams (nine points, nine rebounds, four assists) also did their share in winning this one for their coach.
"Good thing is that when they (Phoenix) went up big, we just kept at it...we figured out a way towards the end," said Reyes.
A Rosario putback touched off a 10-0 bomb that put TNT ahead, 80-77, with 3:49 left.
RJ Jazul tied it all up from beyond the arc then the Tropang Giga regained the upper hand on Rosario's follow-up on Williams' miss, 1:52 left.
TNT forced Jason Perkins to flub his potential equalizer, leading to two insurance freebies by Kib Montalbo.
Matthew Wright (15) led four others in double digits for Phoenix, which slipped to back-to-back losses and 1-4 overall. (OL)
TNT 84 - Rosario 15, Pogoy 13, Castro 10, M. Williams 9, Khobuntin 9, K. Williams 8, Marcelo 6, Montalbo 5, Erram 3, Exciminiano 3, Alejandro 3, Heruela 0, Washington 0.
Phoenix 80 - Wright 15, Perkins 14, Manuel 13, Banchero 12, Melecio 11, Jazul 6, Pascual 3, Demusis 2, Chua 2, Rios 2, Garcia 0.
Quarterscores: 17-26, 40-45, 60-63, 84-80.