As they have many times before, Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy lifted the TNT KaTropa to a hard-earned win in the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup. After trailing most of the game, the KaTropa came back to claim an 80-75 overtime victory against the Magnolia Hotshots at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday evening.
With the game tied at 74, Pogoy hit a 3-pointer to put TNT ahead with 2:38 left in overtime. After both teams exchanged empty possessions, Pogoy hit a turnaround jumper to give the KaTropa the five-point cushion they needed to secure the win.
Pogoy finished with a game-high 26 points, including five 3s. His big shots would not have been possible, however, if not for Castro's heads up play late in regulation.
Down by two with ten seconds left in the fourth quarter, TNT turned to Castro to save the day. He took his defender one-on-one, danced with him and went up for a 3-point attempt. But at the very last second, he dropped it off to Troy Rosario who sent the game into overtime with a semi-hook.
Castro ended with 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 2 blocks.
Both teams started the game flat and struggled from the field. Magnolia could only make six of their 19 first quarter attempts while TNT was even worse making 3-of-15. The biggest difference in the opening period was Ian Sangalang. He was the only one who could get shots in, scoring eight of the Hotshots' 13 points in the first.
TNT could have been out of the game early but Pogoy and Castro refused to go down quickly. In the second quarter, when Magnolia first threatened to pull ahead, Pogoy scored 14 points, including a buzzer-beating three to close out the first half.
In the second half, it was Castro turn to take over. After being held to only four points in the first half, he erupted for 20 in the last two quarters.
Rafi Reavis was almost the hero after hitting an elbow jumper that gave Magnolia the lead with 1:25 remaining in regulation.
TNT could not convert and eventually had to foul and send a Hotshot to the free throw line. But Jio Jalalon could only make one of two free throws and left a small opening for TNT.
TNT spoiled a career night for Robbie Herndon who scored 16 points, his highest in the PBA. Sangalang had 15 points and nine rebounds while Jalalon finishes with 12 points, eight boards and eight assists.
TNT 80 - Pogoy 26, Castro 24, Rosario 15, Trollano 9, Williams 4, Taha 2, Golla 0, Reyes 0, Heruela 0, Semerad 0, Miranda 0, Casiño 0.
Magnolia 75 - Herndon 16, Sangalang 15, Jalalon 12, Barroca 9, Reavis 8, Dela Rosa 7, Simon 3, Calisaan 2, Pascual 2, Brondial 1, Lee 0.
Quarters: 9-13, 30-32, 49-52, 72-72, 80-75.
-- Paul Lee started the game for Magnolia but went scoreless in 13 minutes of action. He was 0-for-4 from the field.
-- Harvey Carey sat out of the game due to a hamstring injury.
-- TNT entered the game with roster changes. Just after a week after signing James Forrester, the KaTropa relegated him to an unrestricted free agent list and activated JK Casiño. They also acquired the services of unrestricted free agent Ken Bono.
TNT vs NorthPort on February 27 (Wednesday) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
Magnolia vs San Miguel on February 10 (Sunday) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum