By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE TnT Tropang Giga kept their unblemished record intact after defeating the Blackwater Bossing, 96-76, in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup’s return on Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Tropang Giga used a big chargeback in the third canto to create considerable distance from the Bossing and never looked back from there to stretch their record in the season-opening Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournament to 4-0.
Rookie Mikey Williams top-scored for TnT in the win, finishing with 16 points, six coming in the pivotal run they made in the third quarter.
Blackwater had early control of the contest on the lead of guards Simon Enciso and Baser Amer, taking a six-point cushion, 43-37, by the half time break.
In the third quarter, TnT came out firing, outscoring Blackwater, 10-3, in the first four minutes to seize the lead, 47-46.
The Tropang Giga went on to outgun the Bossing the rest of the quarter, 27-14, to take a 74-60 advantage heading into the final frame.
Having gained control of the match, TnT did not show letup in the fourth quarter, staying out of reach of its opponent en route to the victory.
Roger Pogoy finished with 13 points for the Tropang Giga, with Jayson Castro adding 11.
The win was the first-ever 4-0 start for TNT under come-backing PBA coach Chot Reyes, who was at the helm of the team from 2008 to 2012 prior to his return this season.
For Blackwater, which dropped to 0-5 with the loss, it was Mr. Enciso who showed the way with 14 points, followed by Kelly Nabong and Carl Bryan Cruz with 11 apiece.
The defeat extended the Bossing’s losing streak to 13, dating back to last year, one shy of the franchise record in futility established back in 2015.
The TnT-Blackwater game marked the return of the PBA after a one-month stoppage to action because of the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), particularly the Delta variant.
The PBA Philippine Cup opened on July 16 with games held at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. Action was stopped after matches on Aug. 1 as Metro Manila was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
The league spent the next weeks looking for areas which could hold its games, eventually finding a willing host in Pampanga, which is under a less strict Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) setup.
Games on Thursday will see the NLEX Road Warriors play the Alaska Aces at 2 p.m. and Rain or Shine Elastopainters take on the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters at 4:35 p.m.