Rosario waxes hot as Tropa add misery to slumping Bolts

Rosario waxes hot as Tropa add misery to slumping Bolts

Troy Rosario exploded for 22 points as TNT KaTropa continues its winning ways. Dugout Philippines | Franchesca Nicole Collantes
By Ricky Manliguis

ANTIPOLO—Troy Rosario caught fire early on as the TNT KaTropa cruised to a 99-81 victory over a depleted Meralco squad in the first game of Sunday action in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center.

Rosario, who recently celebrated his 26th birthday this weekend, exploded for 22 points, 12 coming from a telling first-quarter surge to pull right away for the Tropa’s second straight win and improve to 3-2.

After Jason Ballesteros split his charities for a 1-0 Meralco lead, TNT waxed hot with 13 straight points behind Rosario and RR Garcia for a comfortable 27-18 first-quarter advantage.

The onslaught continued in the next three quarters, with the lead even reaching to 22 points, 92-70, on a Garcia triple with 4:02 mark of the final canto.

Rosario also finished with 10 rebounds while shooting 8-of-13 from the field including six triples. Garcia contributed 18, while Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro followed suit with 15 and 12 markers, respectively.  

Three-point shooting proved to be TNT’s strong suit in the match, as the team unloaded 40 treys, converting 18 of them for a 45 percent clip.

The win was TNT’s follow-up to its come-from-behind 92-83 conquest of Blackwater last Jan. 17.

[Related Story: TNT defies dismal first half, rallies past Blackwater for bounce back win]  

"We knew going to this game that Meralco was undermanned," TNT head coach Nash Racela said after the game. "Ang mentality namin was to take advantage of that, and today from start to end, we were able to do that."

"Our goal as a team is to be consistent on both ends," added Racela. "Today, despite us using a lot of people, medyo consistent kami the whole 48 minutes."

The Bolts, continuing to miss the services of big men Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge, now suffered its third consecutive setback and drop at the bottom half of the standings at 1-3.

Baser Amer pumped in 20 points in a losing effort, while Jared Dillinger and Nino Canaleta were the other double-digit scorers with 14 and 11 in that order.

The scores:

TNT 99—Rosario 22, Garcia 18, Pogoy 15, Castro 12, Reyes 10, Semerad 10, Carey 3, Hernandez 3, Tautuaa 2, Williams 2, Torres 2, Golla 0, Onwubere 0.

Meralco 81—Amer 20, Dillinger 14, Canaleta 11, Tolomia 8, Newsome 6, 5, Hugnatan 4, Bono 4, Faundo 3, Ballesteros 3, Baracael 2, Sedurifa 1, Salva 0, Caram 0.

Quarterscores: 27-18, 46-36, 73-62, 99-81.

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