by Jonas Terrado
Terrence Jones registered his third triple-double of the conference as TNT KaTropa blasted Blackwater, 115-97, to secure a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jones continued to establish his reputation as the league’s top import after posting 36 points, 16 rebounds and 14 assists to give the KaTropa their seventh consecutive victory and a league-best 9-1 record.
Jayson Castro flirted at a triple-double before finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists while role players Brian Heruela and Don Trollano scored 12 and 11 points after combining for seven triples to cap off TNT’s dominance.
The KaTropa have one more game left in the eliminations against the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok on July 17 but coach Bong Ravena urged the team to stay sharp in preparation for the playoffs.
“We still have to maintain a must-win mentality,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena.
TNT shot 19 three-pointers in the contest even as it held Blackwater to a 35-percent shooting.
Rookie Ray Parks struggled from the field anew, making 7-of-21 attempts despite a part of his 21 points being made during garbage time.
Import Staphon Blair had 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Elite, who dropped to 6-4.
Blackwater has lost three of its last four outings after a 5-1 start.
TNT outscored Blackwater, 35-20, in the second quarter with Jones leading the way to take a 60-43 halftime lead.
A Troy Rosario jumper to open the fourth gave the KaTropa their biggest lead at 27 points, 93-66.
TNT 115 – Jones 36, Rosario 14, Castro 13, Heruela 12, Pogoy 12, Trollano 11, A. Semerad 8, Magat 4, Casino 3, Taha 2, Reyes 0, Golla 0, D. Semerad 0.
Blackwater 97 – Parks 21, Digregorio 19, Maliksi 16, Blair 16, Belo 10, Sumang 4, Alolino 3, Banal 2, Dario 2, Sena 2, Desiderio 2, Cortez 0, Tratter 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Jose 0.
Quarterscores: 25-23, 60-43, 91-66, 115-97