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TNT stays in playoff bid; spoils NLEX's Top 6 entry with blowout

Jericho Cruz led TNT in his first game there. PBA Media Bureau
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--With its back against the wall, TNT needed to beat sister team NLEX to get a shot to enter the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.

The KaTropa did more than just a mere win.

TNT bludgeoned NLEX, 101-75, as the league resumed play at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Wednesday night.

The KaTropa stifled the Road Warriors in the first half, limiting them to only 28 points while opening a 30-point lead at halftime. It was enough for the KaTropa to seal the win.

Jericho Cruz made an impression in his first game with TNT, tallying 17 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

Kelly Williams also put up 17 markers along with 16 boards, one assist, three steals, and one block.

Troy Rosario stretched his fine form with Gilas on Sunday to the KaTropa on Wednesday, tallying 14 points, five rebounds, and four dimes.

RR Pogoy went 5-of-7 from the field to tally 13 markers, five boards, and four assists.

Jayson Castro added 10 markers, four caroms, two assists, and one steal.

TNT now needs to await the result of the GlobalPort-Phoenix game on Friday to determine its playoff fate.

JR Quinahan fired 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks, but he failed to lift NLEX to the victory as the team will also need to look at Rain Or Shine's remaining games against San Miguel, which will take place later Wednesday, and Ginebra to see if it can make the Top 6.

Kiefer Ravena, who was prolific for Gilas during the past FIBA World Cup Qualifier window, was limited to only one points in 12 minutes of play.

Box Scores:

TNT 101-Cruz 17, Williams 17, Rosario 14, Pogoy 13, Castro 10, Tamsi 7, Garcia 6, Paredes 5, Semerad 3, Reyes 3, Tautuaa 2, Carey 2, Torres 2, Golla 0, Nuyles 0

NLEX 75-QuiƱahan 20, Alas 14, Al-Hussaini 10, Mallari 5, Monfort 5, Miranda 5, Soyud 4, Tiongson 3, Ighalo 3, Fonacier 3, Taulava 2, Ravena 1, Baguio 0, Uyloan 0

Quarterscores: 27-16, 58-28, 80-50, 101-75

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno