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TNT subdues NLEX, moves to fourth


By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--TNT strengthened its bid to get a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors' Cup with a 112-107 win over NLEX at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Wednesday night.

The KaTropa came up with huge baskets down the stretch to hold off the Road Warriors and jump to solo fourth place in their first game since losing star forward Ranidel De Ocampo in a trade on Monday.

[Related Story: RDO to Meralco from TNT in three-team swap with Phoenix]

With the game tied, 101-all, with 3:32 to go, TNT went on a 6-0 run anchored by a booming triple from Glen Rice Jr. and a layup by Kelly Williams for a 107-101 cushion with 1:56 left.

NLEX tried to come back, answering with five straight points to cut the lead to one, 107-106, with 1:20 to go.

But Jayson Castro fired a huge trey with 1:12 remaining to stretch the gap to four, 110-106.

Defense then became the KaTropa's battle cry as they limited the Road Warriors to only a single point, a free throw from Aaron Fuller, the rest of the way.

Despite a sluggish outing, Rice still finished with 25 points and actually came up with a triple-double after grabbing 15 rebounds and 10 assists with five blocks.

Williams added 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals for TNT, which moved up to 6-3.

Fuller put in 28 markers, 18 rebounds, three dimes, and one steal for NLEX, which failed to go on top of the standings and even fell to third at 7-3.

Box Scores:

TNT 112-Rice Jr. 25, Williams 19, Rosario 17, Castro 13, Tautuaa 12, Semerad 10, Reyes 8, Pogoy 6, Carey 2, Nuyles 0

NLEX 107-Fuller 28, Mallari 19, Fonacier 10, Alas 9, Baguio 7, Lastimosa 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Tiongson 5, Soyud 5, Quinahan 5, Rios 2, Ighalo 2, Taulava 2, J. Villanueva 0

Quarterscores: 25-20, 50-46, 83-77, 112-107

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno