TNT pulls huge comeback to beat Alaska in Smith debut

By Ivan Saldajeno

LOS BAÑOS--TNT fought back from 15 points down to stun Alaska, 119-110, in their PBA Commissioner's Cup match at the Ibalong Centrum in Legazpi on Saturday night.

The KaTropa actually erased double-digit leads by the Aces twice in the game, but the last one eventually decided the match as Joshua Smith got a win in his PBA debut.

Alaska raced to a hot start, opening a 50-37 lead at the middle of the second quarter.

But TNT went on a 19-5 run later in the period to take the lead, 56-55, before a Chris Banchero buzzer-beater put Alaska ahead again, 57-56, at halftime.

The Aces tried to pull away again, opening a 90-75 lead with 3:49 left in the third quarter.

But the KaTropa once again rallied and eventually the game, 95-all, with 9:45 left in the game, starting the fourth quarter with seven straight points.

Alaska tried to regain control after going on a 6-0 run for a 101-95 lead.

But TNT responded with a 21-6 run to take the lead for good.

Smith finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and one block, while Jayson Castro, who rushed to Legazpi after his SEABA stint, added 20 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and one steal for the KaTropa.

Cory Jefferson led the Aces with 29 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal.

Vic Manuel hurt his knee late in the third but returned to the game and still ended up with 17 points, four rebounds, and one block.

Calvin Abueva also made an Aces return after joining Castro with Gilas and chipped in 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

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