LEAGUE-leading TNT KaTropa look to stay on top of the heap of the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup when they return to league action today against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Holders of a 7-1 record in the midseason PBA tournament, a game ahead of second-running Northport Batang Pier (7-2), the streaking KaTropa shoot for their sixth straight win in their 7 p.m. match with the Elasto Painters to create further distance from the chasing pack and boost their push for a top-two finish in the elimination round and the twice-to-beat advantage that go with it for the next round.
TNT last played on June 21 where it defeated the Columbian Dyip, 109-102.
Import Terrence Jones had another solid outing for the KaTropa in said game, finishing with 39 points, 17 rebounds, seven blocks and six assists to lead the team in the victory.
Jayson Williams had 22 points and six assists while Roger Pogoy finished with 16 points and four steals.
The KaTropa had their struggles to begin the game versus the Dyip but steadily picked things up as the game progressed on their way to their fifth victory in a row.
“We are happy with the win. We struggled early in the game but good thing we were able to recover in the second half,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena, adding they hope to keep their form for the rest of the tournament.
Looking to stop TNT is Rain or Shine, currently in the middle of the pack and in search of a victory to pad its cause.
The Elasto Painters (3-4) lost in their last game against the NLEX Road Warriors, 100-97, that dropped them to below the .500 mark.
Import Denzel Bowles top-scored for Rain or Shine with 35 points to go along with nine rebounds and two blocks.
Guard Kris Rosales backstopped him with 18 markers with Ed Daquioag and Javee Mocon adding 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Rain or Shine had its chances to come out on top of NLEX but it could not complete them en route to the defeat which left it at eighth place at the moment in the race.
Meanwhile, Northport tries bounce back from a loss previously when it takes on Columbian (2-6) in the curtain-raiser at 4:30 p.m.
The Batang Pier bowed to the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, 97-87, on June 26 which effectively halted their four-game winning streak prior.
The Dyip, for their part, are coming off a rousing 134-132 overtime victory over powerhouse San Miguel Beermen on June 30 to snap a three-game losing streak. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo