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PBA: Tough TNT

Games Today
(Ynares Sports Center,
Antipolo City)
4:15 p.m. – Blackwater vs Rain or Shine
7 p.m. – TNT Katropa vs Alaska

The absence of three key players due to injuries to start the PBA Governors’ Cup didn’t stop TNT Katropa from winning back-to-back games to open their campaign.

With the same dilemma yet unresolved, TNT coach Jong Uichico hopes they continue to overcome the odds.

TNT tries to extend its unbeaten streak to three games when it battles Alaska as elimination round action resumes today at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.

The encounter between the Katropa and the Aces is set at 7 p.m. after the match pitting Commissioner’s Cup champion Rain or Shine against Blackwater at 4:15 p.m.

Both the Elasto Painters and the Elite are fresh from their respective first win this conference. RoS defeated newcomer Phoenix (106-89) while Blackwater downed Star (100-98) last week.

TNT started the conference with three players still recovering from injuries – former MVP Kelly Williams, second year player Matt Ganuelas Rosser and rookie Troy Rosario.

Uichico will rely anew on his mainstays Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo to lead Katropa, together with import Mario Little, who has averages of 16 points and 11 rebounds per game.

“We just have to continue trying to find ways to win as a team,” said Uichico, who has steered TNT Commissioner’s Cup title last season but has missed the semifinal round the last three conferences.

TNT will face an Alaska side that will play without ‘energy bunny’ in 6-foot-2 forward Calvin Abueva, who was suspended for one game and fined R22,000 by PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa Tuesday for throwing an elbow at the face of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Chris Ellis while both were on the floor.

The referees actually missed calling what should have been a second motion – automatic for technical foul – when he planted an elbow to the face of Chris Ellis in their game against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Sunday.

But upon review, the Commissioner’s Office suspended Abueva.

“Talk ’N Text is one of the best teams in the league, and without one of the best players in the league (Abueva), it’s going to be tough for us. It just actually become tougher,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.

Without the Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference Abueva, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in their overtime win against Ginebra (109-100), Compton will lean on his other mainstays.