TNT was unaffected by their almost two-week long layoff as they stifled Rain or Shine, 79-69, Friday afternoon at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Tropang Giga last played on July 17, a win against Terrafirma, before being placed by the PBA under its health and safety protocols, which caused them to be isolated for several days.
Troy Rosario paced the balanced offensive attack of returning head coach Chot Reyes with 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Roger Pogoy chipped in 13 as well.
"We came into this ball game really looking to win it with our defense, because our offense was an eyesore," Reyes said in the press conference. "We held them to below 70, so I thought we played a pretty good defensive ball game," he added.
The Elasto Painters were coming off one of their worst games in franchise history, a 48-74 loss to Meralco, and were not able to halt their well-rested opponents as they lost their second straight contest to fall to 3-2.
Javee Mocon topscored for Rain or Shine with 22 markers, a big bounce back for him after a scoreless outing against the Alaska Aces.
In a tight first quarter, TNT led by as many as five points, 22-17, towards the end of the period. Mark Borboran's basket sliced the lead, 22-19 just before the buzzer sounded.
To open the second, the Tropang Giga's lead surged to nine, 28-19, after back-to-back triples from Jjay Alejandro and Glenn Khobuntin. TNT remained in control of the quarter, as it took a 43-33 advantage at halftime.
TNT's largest lead was when they went ahead by 15, 48-33, after a triple by Kib Montalbo a minute inside the second half. Poy Erram closed the third with a layup that gave their team a dozen-point lead, 64-52.
After seeing their lead dwindle to 10, the Tropang Giga kept their cool and their lead, en route to their second straight victory to start the season.
Rookies Mikey Williams and Franky Johnson also made their respective debuts for TNT and ROS, respectively.
Williams, the fourth overall pick, scored seven points on 2/9 shooting, while Johnson, the 17th overall selection, also had seven markers.
"He'll be the first to tell you that it was far from impressive. However, it's pretty evident how he gets his teammates involved. And I think the good part here is, his teammates like playing with him," Reyes said of his highly-touted rookie.
TNT (79) -- Pogoy 13, Rosario 13, Khobuntin 10, Castro 9, Williams M 7, Heruela 6. Alejandro 6, Williams K 6, Montalbo 5, Erram 4, Exciminiano 0, Marcelo 0.
RAIN OR SHINE (69) -- Mocon 22, Borboran 12, Johnson 7, Norwood 6, Caracut 6, Ponferada 5, Torres 5, Nambatac 4, Wong 2, Guinto 0.
Quarter Scores: 22-19, 43-33, 64-52, 79-69.
- TNT shot 9/31 while Rain or Shine made 4/29 from three-point range
- TNT just started practice on Monday after a week's worth of quarantine.
TNT vs NorthPort on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2 p.m., at Ynares Pasig
Rain or Shine vs Terrafirma on Sunday, Aug. 1, 7 p.m., at Ynares Pasig