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PBA: Calvin Oftana steers TNT's late run to edge Meralco

Calvin Oftana was clutch for TNT. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Calvin Oftana turned things around within the last 2:27 of the game for TNT as they beat sister team Meralco, 92-90, in their PBA Philippine Cup meeting on Sunday night at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Forced to call a timeout with 3:20 left after the Bolts took an 87-84 lead, the ceasefire just began to only come to fruition for the Tropang Giga with two free throws from Oftana with 2:27 left.

In TNT's next offensive, however, Oftana shot a go-ahead three to go up, 89-87, with 2:07 to play.

The team then turned to its defense by forcing Meralco to a 24-second violation following Jayson Castro's split, leading to an Oftana layup with 48 seconds to play.

Bong Quinto kept the Bolts in the game after converting a three-point play to cut the lead to two with 36 seconds left even as they forced a stop on the other end by making things tough for Castro to score a layup.

However, RR Pogoy chased down Aaron Black's potential game-tying layup and blocked the shot with 7.2 seconds left.

Meralco decided to go for the win in the repossession, but Jolo Mendoza missed an open three at the final buzzer.

Oftana led the Tropang Giga, who moved up to a three-way tie at 3-3 with the Blackwater Bossing and Terrafirma Dyip, with 26 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and three blocks.

Castro added 15 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one block, while Pogoy, Kelly Williams, and Henry Galinato each tallied 11 markers with Williams also grabbing 13 boards.

Black and Cliff Hodge each tallied 16 points for the Bolts, who dropped to 3-4.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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