Nash-less TNT bubbles hot start but subdues Columbian in OT

Jayson Castro found his A-game again. PBA Media Bureau
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--TNT had some pre-game drama when the team gave head coach Nash Racela an indefinite leave.

Under interim mentor Eric Gonzales, the KaTropa thought they already got their winning form back early on, dropping 40 first quarter points on the Columbian Dyip on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Columbian, however, slowly recovered and even came close to stealing an upset win of sorts.

TNT just barely survived.

The KaTropa needed overtime to hold off the Dyip, 118-114, in their PBA Governors' Cup clash.

TNT somehow slowed down after the 40-point first quarter blast, opening an opportunity for Columbian to even take the lead, 103-101, with 2:42 to play in regulation.

Consecutive triples from Terrence Romeo and RR Pogoy put the KaTropa back up, 107-103, with 1:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, Akeem Wright answered with a huge layup and assisted on Russel Escoto's own lay-in of their own to force a 107-all deadlock with 10 ticks left.

Romeo had a chance to win it for TNT in regulation, but he missed a tough layup as time expired.

The game remained tight for most of the extension, but the KaTropa kept the Dyip scoreless in the last 1:16 of the game even as Romeo scored a clutch layup and Jayson Castro putting in a technical free throw to put the game away.

Castro scored 25 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and one block for TNT, which snapped a three-game slide and moved up to 2-4.

Romeo added 22 points and six assists.

Pogoy put up a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds off the bench with four assists and four steals.

Stacy Davis was quiet in 22 minutes of play off the bench, contributing 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Jerramy King paced Columbian with a near double-double of 26 points and nine rebounds with one assist and one steal.

Wright even came close to a triple-double as he too had nine rebounds on top of 24 markers and nine assists, but he also neared a bizarre quadruple-double as he committed nine turnovers. He also had two blocks.

Escoto did achieve a double-double, tallying 15 points and 10 rebounds with one assist and one block in what would be his best game for the franchise since he was drafted in the Gilas Cadets special draft in 2016.

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