TNT twits NLEX, keeps Top 4 race wide open

September 13, 2017

TNT KaTropa refused to fold up in a furious battle with NLEX, banking on the key plays of Glen Rice Jr., Kelly Williams and Jason Castro down the stretch to squeeze out a 112-107 win and climb to solo fourth spot in the PBA Governors Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo Wednesday.

The Road Warriors refused to give up but neither the Texters gave in, pulling through in the end and thus enhancing their Top Four aspiration with a 6-3 win-loss record.

Rice Jr. finished with a triple-double performance with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists as the Texters foiled the Road Warriors' first crack at a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

The battle for the Top Four remained wide open at least among the seven leading teams with the Texters stopping the Road Warriors.

At 7-3, the Road Warriors, however, can still automatically claim a Top Four spot with a win over the Star Hotshots in the final play date of the elims.

"That was a hard-fought game. It's good we're able to play together especially on the defensive end," said TNT coach Nash Racela.

Crucial defensive stops by Williams and Ryan Reyes helped the Texters through.
Williams pulled off a steal off Aaron Fuller and went for an unstoppable drive as the Texters took a crucial six-point cushion at 107-101 entering the last two minutes of the game.

And with the Texters still holding a shaky 110-106 lead, Reyes had his own steal off Fuller, and TNT subsequently held off the Road Warriors and their gritty challenge.

Rice nearly finished with a rare quadruple-double numbers as he committed nine turnovers.

But there's no denying he gave the Texters a tremendous lift in their first game in the post Ranidel de Ocampo era.
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Racela opted not to play yet the players - Norbert Torres and Justin Chua -- they acquired in exchange for De Ocampo.

Williams and Moala Tautuaa posted near double-double numbers with the former churning out 17 points and eight rebounds while the latter made 12 markers and eight boards.

Troy Rosario, Anthony Semerad and Castro were three other TNT players who finished in double figures versus the Road Warriors who were paced by Fuller and Alex Mallari with 28 and 19 points, respectively. (SB)