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Gilas opens MVP Cup campaign with takedown of TNT

Moala Tautuaa was on the wrong end of a last-seond poster dunk by Matt Ganuelas Rosser. Dennis Jerome Acosta/Dugout Philippines
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Gilas Pilipinas stomped its defensive prowess in the third quarter to pounce fellow Filipino side Talk 'n Text, 93-77, in the nightcap of the opening day of the Master Gameface MVP Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

After a close first half which even saw the Tropang Texters leading at some moments, Gilas outscored them, 24-12, after the intermission to open a 69-52 lead.

The gap even swelled to 20 points in the fourth before Gilas settled for the 16-point winning margin.

Terrence Romeo led Gilas with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, five rebounds, and six assists, while Jayson Castro added 14 markers on a 6-of-9 field goal clip, four boards, four dimes, and two steals.

In his first game back for Gilas after skipping the Jones Cup due to family matters, Andray Blatche tallied 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal, but he only made four of 14 shots.

Former Gilas star Larry Fonacier led TNT with 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and one steal.

In their respective debut for the club, top draft picks Mo Tautuaa and Troy Rosario, who were also part of the Gilas pool, made 16 and five markers respectively, but the former was on the wrong end of a last-second poster dunk by Matt Rosser.

Box Scores:

Philippines 93-Romeo 22, Castro 14, Blatche 12, De Ocampo 12, Abueva 8, Intal 7, Thoss 6, Taulava 6, Rosser 4, Pingris 2, Norwood 0, Hontiveros 0

Talk 'n Text 77-Fonacier 20, Tautuaa 16, Rodriguez 12, Seigle 8, Rosario 5, Sumalinog 5, R. Reyes 3, Miranda 2, Carey 2, J. Reyes 2, Labagala 2, Espiritu 0

Quarterscores: 23-22, 45-40, 69-52, 93-77