By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
The TNT Tropang Giga remained unscathed in the PBA Philippine Cup after topping the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, 110-91, in their battle of unbeaten teams on Monday at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Pampanga.
The Tropang Giga used a spirited run in the third quarter to swing the tide in their favor and built on it thereafter to record their fourth win in as many games in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association tournament while sending the Fuel Masters to their first defeat in three matches.
The contest was nip-and-tuck right from the opening gate with both teams ending up knotted at 24-all at the end of the first quarter.
In the second canto, Phoenix had better traction led by Matthew Wright, outscoring TNT, 16-2, to build a 40-26 advantage midway into the period.
Tropang Giga regained some real estate after, coming to within six points, 44-38, three minutes later.
But the Fuel Masters were not to be denied control all the way to the halftime break, carrying a 54-45 edge.
TNT came out aggressive to begin the third quarter on the baton of Roger Pogoy.
It would unleash a 15-6 run early to level the count at 60-all by the 6:10 mark.
The Tropang Giga kept pouring it on after to complete the quarter turnaround and be ahead 75-68 heading into the final frame.
Poy Erram and Ray Parks Jr. got it going in the fourth canto, towing TNT to a 14-point advantage, 92-78, with 6:33 left on the clock.
Phoenix made a desperate attempt to claw its way back but TNT was not to allow them, eventually succumbing and bowing to the defeat.
Mr. Pogoy led the way for TNT in the win with 30 points with five rebounds. Mr. Erram had a double-double of 18 points and 15 boards to go along with three blocks.
Jayson Castro finished with 10 points for TNT and along the way he became the latest member of the 8,000-point club in the PBA. He is now the 32nd local and 35th player overall to achieve the feat in league history.
He is among six active players who hold such distinction, along with James Yap, Mark Caguioa, Arwind Santos, Asi Taulava and Alex Cabagnot.
For Phoenix it was Mr. Wright who top-scored with 31 points.
Meanwhile, the league was happy to announce that teams inside the PBA bubble had negative results in the latest swab testing for the coronavirus done by the Clark Development Corp.
League commissioner Willie Marcial shared that the personnel of the 12 competing teams tested negative in the second round of testing held last week, which bodes well for the thrust of the league to complete its ongoing tournament in the former United States military base.
The PBA, however, made it clear that some players who entered late in the bubble are still scheduled to be swab-tested along with members of the PBA staff.
Swab-testing is a key component in the league being allowed by the government to return to action after seven months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Testing is scheduled every two weeks. The initial test was done on Sept. 28 and 29 when teams began arriving at the Clark Freeport.