Glen Rice of TNT KaTropa soars for a basket during their do-or-die quarterfinal duel with Rain or Shine, Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. | PBA Images
MANILA, Philippines — TNT fashioned out a gritty stand to put a pesky Rain or Shine side away for good, 118-114, and punch a ticket to the next round in Friday night’s cardiac PBA quarterfinals at the Big Dome.
KaTropa returned whatever the Elasto Painters sent their way: from long bombs and slams to crafty shots. When the game boiled down to the final 10 ticks, import Glen Rice Jr. converted a lob from Jayson Castro to put them ahead TNT 116-114.
With a chance to tie the game once more, J’Nathan Bullock and Beau Belga figured in a miscue that would eventually cost them the game.
Ryan Reyes iced the free throws that would seal the deal for KaTropa.
The affair was so close that it featured four lead changes and five ties in the final six minutes of the skirmish.
Rice ended up pacing TNT with 34 points. Castro wound up with a double-double of 20 markers and 12 dimes to go with Troy Rosario’s 18, RR Pogoy’s 16 and Kelly Williams’ 10.
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The Painters, who were looking to upset their twice-to-beat foes, have had KaTropa’s number all conference long. They drew the bulk of their production from Bullock who had 30 points.
Beau Belga and Mark Borboran had commendable contributions off the bench with 18 and 15 respectively.
TNT forges a best-of-five semifinal duel with Barangay Ginebra, who they take on this coming Monday also at the Big Dome.