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PBA: Easy does it for TNT

KaTropa cruises past Bolts in semis opener.

The rivalry between TNT KaTropa and Meralco was evident, but the Texters were simply too hot for the Bolts last night.

Showing no mercy, the Texters went on a third quarter rampage and hacked out a convincing 113-95 win to gain a head start in their best-of-five semis series in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With the way the Texters dominated the match, the Bolts should come up with a new trick tomorrow – perhaps a more concrete defensive strategy – to avoid being blown up.

From a slim 45-43 halftime lead, the Texters raced to a commanding 84-67 advantage after detonating a bomb that left the Bolts totally shaken.

And that came with top gun Jayson Castro cooling his heels on the bench in preparation for what could be an explosive fourth quarter battle.

It did not reach the fourth quarter before the Texters started to pull away as Larry Fonacier and Asian import Michael Madanley combined for five of the team’s seven triples in a blazing third quarter show.

Madanley came off the bench to lead the Texters with 22 points while import Mychal Ammons finished in double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds as TNT took a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five series.

Castro, who scored a personal conference best 42 points in TNT’s victory against Phoenix in the quarterfinal playoffs, had 14 points, nine assists and four rebounds, while rookie Troy Rosario had 16 points.

Overall, the Texters – second this conference in three-point shooting – converted 15-of-30 from the arc as Madanley and Rosario each had four, Fonacier three, Ryan Reyes two, while Castro and Rookie Mo Tautuaa each had one.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled tomorrow at the Big Dome.

Despite the win, TNT mentor Jong Uichico refused to be swayed, saying they achieved nothing from winning game 1.

“Just the first game, it’s a series, so we go back to the drawing board,” said Uichico. “We know Meralco can comeback and we can’t put our guards down we haven’t accomplished anything, it’s a long way to go.”

TNT, which is playing in the semifinal series for the first time since winning the Commissioner’s Cup last season, led by as many as 21 points, 84-63 on a jump shot by Ammons late in the third frame.

TNT KATROPA 113 – Madanly 22, Rosario 16, Ammons 15, Castro 14, De Ocampo 12, Fonacier 9, Williams 8, Reyes 6, Rosales 6, Tautuaa 5, Ababou 0, Rosser 0.

MERALCO 95 – Durham 26, Hodge 16, Dillinger 12, Alapag 8, Amer 8, Hugnatan 8, Faundo 6, Nabong 3, Newsome 3, Uyloan 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Buenafe 0, Guevarra 0.

Quarters: 24-23, 45-43, 84-67, 113-95.