League-leader TNT out to keep tourney lead

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The TNT KaTropa shoot for their fifth straight win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they play the Columbian Dyip today at the Cuneta Astrodome. -- ALVIN S. GO

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

STEAMROLLING TNT KaTropa shoot for their fifth straight win in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup when they collide with the Columbian Dyip in the league curtain-raiser today at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

The hottest team right now in the midseason PBA tournament, winners of their last four matches, the KaTropa (6-1) look to make it five wins in a row to keep their hold of the top spot in the standings, which it currently shares with the idle Northport Batang Pier, and give further wind to their push for a top-two finish in the elimination round.

TNT is coming off a 104-91 win over the Meralco Bolts on June 15 where it was steady throughout to outlast its opponent on its way to the streak-maintaining victory.

Import Terrence Jones had another stellar showing for the KaTropa in the win, finishing with 49 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks.

Veteran Ryan Reyes exploded for 19 points, going 6-of-7 from beyond the arc, while Don Trollano added 16 of his own.

Troy Rosario was the other TNT player in double digits with 11 points.

Following the win, TNT coach Bong Ravena said he is very happy with the way his team is playing with the locals complementing the play of their reinforcement Jones.

He said the Meralco game was an example of that.

“It was another tremendous game for Terrence. Hopefully he can score 40-plus points every time to make it easier for us. But it is not only him but the local as well who are stepping up,” the TNT coach said.

Looking to stop TNT’s winning streak is Columbian (1-4), a team out to make a strong late push in the tournament to catch the playoff bus.

The Dyip last played on June 16, losing to the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 110-103.

New import Lester Prosper made his debut for Columbian in said game, tallying 26 points and 14 rebounds.

Rookie CJ Perez had 18 points while Glenn Khobuntin finished with 14 markers.

Despite absorbing another loss, Columbian Dyip coach John Cardel said he liked what he saw with his team last time around.

“Our import played well. He just needs to adjust to our system. We have back-to-back games on Friday and Sunday and hopefully we will be adjusted by that time,” he said.

Meanwhile, playing in the second game at 7 p.m. are the San Miguel Beermen (1-3) and Alaska Aces (4-3).