|Jayson Castro provided the spark off the bench. PBA Images|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
PASAY CITY - It was a hard-fought battle that TNT KaTropa had to go through to escape Columbian Dyip, 109-102, Friday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Coming off a short break, Jayson Castro led the KaTropa to its eighth win in the conference with 22 points.
He combined forces with Terrence Jones,who finished the game off with 39 points and 17 rebounds.
The first quarter ended with TNT trailing against Columbian, 27-22.
But the KaTropa regrouped at the quarter break.
RR Pogoy fired a triple to open the second period, allowing TNT to come close.
TNT eventually took over the game and led as much as 10 points.
But Columbian, through the efforts of CJ Perez, were able to cut the lead to 6, 46-40 with 3:46 left to play with an assist to Reden Celda for a quick lay-up.
JP Calvo also contributed a steal, finding Perez, who passed the ball to Jackson Corpuz to tie the ball game at 46-all with 2:17 left before the halftime break.
At the half, TNT led Columbian by a hair, 51-50.
The second half saw a more determined Columbian squad with Lester Prosper scoring back-to-back baskets to give the Dyip a 6-point advantage, 62-56, with 7:35 left on the clock.
But Castro's triple capped the KaTropa's own rally to tie the game at 68-all with three minutes left in the period.
The third quarter was sealed off with TNT leading the Dyip by 2, 73-71.
The final period became the turning point for TNT to sail away from Columbian, leading as much as 11 points as early as 6:09.
Castro then extended the lead further to 14 points, 94-80, with a trey with 4:51 left in the game.
Prosper and Rashawn McCarthy still tried the cut the lead further in the dying minutes of the ball game, trimming it down to only 6, 106-100 with only 21 seconds left to play.
But Terrence Jones's free throw off a foul by Prosper sealed the deal for the KaTropa.
"I give credit to Columbian Dyip for giving us a hard time. We expected that they will come out strong, nahirapan kami sa open court play nila," says Coach Bong Ravena at the endgame.
TNT now takes the top spot of the standings with an 8-1 slate.
Follow her on Twitter: @_ichbinxyzha