The TNT Tropang Giga leaned on a balanced attack to gain their fifth straight victory in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, toppling the Blackwater Elite, 109-96, Thursday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena.
Roger Pogoy led TNT with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Troy Rosario, meanwhile, put a double-double of 17 points and 12 boards and Ray Parks netted 18 and dished out five dimes.
Jayson Castro, who is averaging 16.0 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds for Tropang Giga this conference, did not see action due to tightness in the right calf, according to coach Bong Ravena.
"We're happy for the win. Jayson - at least he was able to rest," coach Ravena said in Filipino. "We cannot risk playing [him], forcing him to play."
TNT was once again an offensive juggernaut as it shot 46 percent from the field, including 13-for-35 from downtown. The team was also a force in the paint, converting 42 points. Despite getting win number five, coach Ravena sees they still have more room to grow.
"We have so many things to improve, still. Especially on our defense. We have to go back again to the drawing board and finalize everything and improve our defense," Ravena said.
Blackwater tried to keep up with TNT's offensive prowess. The Elite knocked down 12 3-point shots and relied on their bench (45 points). Unfortunately, Pogoy and company proved too much to handle.
Don Trollano produced 23 points, seven rebounds, and four assists and Mac Belo provided 16 points and eight boards.
TNT remains perfect through its five games, pacing the rest of the league. Blackwater, on the other hand, received its second consecutive setback for a 2-3 record.
"You still need to have that hunger," Ravena said. "They know what's at stake, what we're here for in the bubble. We have goals. It's always there. We don't take anything for granted. We still go strong, go hard, and play hard."
TNT 109 - Pogoy 20, Enciso 16, Parks 18, Rosario 17, Erram 14, Washington 6, Semerad 5, Reyes 5, De Leon 2, Vosotros 4, Flores 2
BLACKWATER 96 - Trollano 23, Belo 16, Tolomia 12, Golla 9, Sumang 8, Daquioag 8, Gabriel 7, Salaem 3, Calaneta 3, Dennison 3, Gabriel 2, Dario 2, Desiderio 2, Escoto 0
Quarters: 34-25, 61-49, 87-73, 109-96
Blackwater was coming off a 38-point loss versus the Alaska Aces, which was the third worst defeat in franchise history. Unfortunately for them, they couldn't bounce back from that loss against TNT.
It was the first meeting between Blackwater coach Nash Racela against his former team where he was an assistant (2008-2016) and a head coach (2016-2018).
NT now has a 15-1 overall win-loss record versus Blackwater
TNT vs NorthPort Batang Pier, 6:45 p.m. on Oct 26
Blackwater vs Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 4:00 p.m. on Oct 25