Former three-time PBA scoring champ Terrence Romeo prevailed over his former team GlobalPort in their initial face-off.
Romeo struggled with a bad shooting most of the game but had his clutch shots in TNT KaTropa's fourth-quarter rampage on the way to a 128-114 win over GlobalPort on opening night of the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
The 5-foot-10 guard knocked in back-to-back long twinners to make it 115-100 before committing three successive turnovers prompting TNT coach Nash Racela to rest him in the last 2:53 of the game.
Romeo finished with 11 points in the game that lived up to expectation as an emotional match marred by numerous technical and flagrant infractions.
GlobalPort import Malcolm White incurred a flagrant foul right in the opening half and went out on fouls with 5:41 left to play and the Batang Pier trailing by 11 at 98-109.
Moala Tautuaa then took the showers ahead of the rest on a flagrant foul penalty 2 incurred for kicking TNT import Jeremy Tyler while the former was hanging in the rim following a two-handed slam.
Tyler and Joseph Gabayni also drew infractions of their own.
"It's nice that the PBA is allowing some amount of physicality but I think there were some unnecessary actions in some possessions that the commissioner has to look at," said TNT coach Nash Racela after the game.
"There are a lot of excessive movements on the part of the players. We have to take notice of that," he added.
Leaning on the hot hands of their old hands, the Texters got to a triumphant start in the mid-season tourney.
Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, Ryan Reyes, Troy Rosario, Papot Paredes and Jericho Cruz sizzled with 15-of-30 three-pointers to highlight TNT's explosive game negating the superb individual showings of White (27 points and 12 rebounds) and Sean Anthony (34 markers and 10 boards).
Castro missed by four rebounds what could have been a triple-
double game. He collected 21 points and 10 assists.
Tyler came through with 14 points and 12 rebounds in his PBA debut while Pogoy produced 20 points, with Cruz, Reyes and Rosario chipping in at least 11 each.
The Batang Pier had their moment, exciting their fans as they gnawed at an early 21-point deficit (15-36), racing ahead at 74-73 in the third.
The Texters, however, pulled away again on an 11-to-nothing start in the fourth quarter, starring Pogoy and Castro. (SB)