The TNT KaTropa remain in the hunt for one of the top two spots in the PBA Philippine Cup and a twice-to-beat advantage following a 101-98 win over the Columbian Dyip 101-98 Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The KaTropa improved to 7-3 overall with a fifth-straight win to move within half a game of the second place Rain or Shine Elasto Painters who are 8-3.
The Dyip closed their elimination-round campaign with a second straight defeat to drop to 4-7. Their playoff chances are no longer in their control.
Jayson Castro's 3-pointer gave TNT it's biggest lead of the game 88-72 but Columbian rallied behind rookie CJ Perez, Jackson Corpuz and Rashawn McCarthy. Columbian had two chances to send the game to overtime but McCarthy missed two 3-point attempts in the final seconds.
TNT's defense was again the key difference, forcing 27 Columbian turnovers, which the KaTropa converted into 22 points.
Castro got his usual numbers with 20 points, seven assists and three steals but veteran Ryan Reyes provided the big lift off the bench for TNT.
Reyes scored 18 points, including 11 in the third period that enabled TNT to restore control after Columbian closed to within a point.
Three other TNT players finished in double figures. Troy Rosario banged in 19 points, Roger Pogoy added 14, while Kelly Williams flirted with a double-double after contributing 12 and nine boards.
Perez led Columbian with 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists and McCarthy had 17 points but shot just 4-of-19 overall.
TNT caught fire from downtown after knocking down 14 3-point shots. Castro, Reyes and Rosario accounted for 11 from beyond the arc.
The KaTropa had 30 assists and 21 steals.
TNT vs. NorthPort on March 24 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.