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PBA: TNT adds to Alaska’s woes

Game Today
(Calasiao Sports Complex, Pangasinan)
5:15 p.m. – Ginebra vs NLEX

TNT KaTropa extended the misery of the struggling Alaska Aces last night as it came back from a 14-point deficit in the second half to escape with a 107-106 victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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Forced to log heavy minutes before leaving for Lebanon to represent Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Cup, rookie Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro knocked down big shots to complete the KaTropa’s stirring comeback and deal the hardluck Aces their 12th straight loss since the Commissioner’s Cup.

Pogoy scored 25 points, including back-to-back threes during the final minutes, while Castro likewise hit a crucial triple on his way to 24 points as TNT bounced back from Wednesday’s 107-101 loss to San Miguel and improve to 2-1.

The KaTropa won despite losing import Michael Craig to six personal fouls with 5:04 left in the fourth. Craig topscored with 28 points while grabbing 19 rebounds.

Import LeDontae Henton missed a game-winning layup on the final seconds as Alaska remained winless after four games, joining Kia at the bottom – extending the unbelievable tailspin of the once contending franchise.

“I think it’s a matter of time na mananalo din sila, I really didn’t want it to happen (last night),” said TNT coach Nash Racela. “I was really scared of Alaska, good thing the players stepped up.”

The Aces looked like they will finally put an end to the losing skid when they led 63-49 in the third behind Henton (42 points and 22 rebounds), and Calvin Abueva (19 points and 11 rebounds).

But Pogoy hit consecutive triples, including a stepback over Chris Banchero to give the KaTropa a 102-101 lead with 1:38 to play in the fourth. Henton and TNT’s Ranidel de Ocampo exchanged baskets before Castro sank an elbow three to make it 107-103 TNT, 45.5 left.

Henton gave Alaska a lifeline to trail 107-106, but failed to convert on the winning basket to allow TNT to escape the jaws of defeat.

First Game
TNT 107 – Craig 28, Pogoy 25, Castro 23, Rosario 15, De Ocampo 7, Williams 4, Garcia 3, Tautuaa 2, Carey 0, Hernandez 0, Semerad 0.

ALASKA 106 – Henton 42, Abueva 19, Manuel 13, Banchero 12, Casio 6, Baclao 4, Enciso 4, Magat 2, Hontiveros 2, Racal 2, Exciminiano 0.

Quarters: 17-20, 38-47, 71-80, 107-106.