Alaska muscles their way inside, TNT rains haymakers from outside

TNT KaTropa 99 – Meralco Bolts 81

The TNT KaTropa buried the slumping Meralco Bolts in an avalanche of three-pointers sending them to a three-game slide.

Meralco took the first lead of the game on a Jason Ballesteros free throw. That was their last lead in the game. Troy Rosario started the game on fire. He hit back-to-back-back three-pointers from exactly the same spot in the right corner as TNT zoomed out to an eight-point lead. That Rosario barrage kickstarted a 13-0 run that would give TNT a double-digit lead to start the game. The KaTropa held the double-digit lead for most of the first half and took a 10-point lead into halftime.

KG Canaleta, Jared Dillinger and Baser Amer teamed up to try to get the Bolts back in the game at the start of the third period. They got as close as five points off a Canaleta trey. But Jason Castro and RR Pogoy answered right back with threes of their own to extend the lead back to double digits. Every time Meralco threatened, TNT had an answer, usually in the form of a three-pointer. TNT put the game away in the fourth quarter when they went on an 11-3 run to build a 19-point lead.

The KaTropa hit 18 three-pointers at a 45% clip. Eight players hit at least one trey in the game, led by Troy Rosario’s six makes to build the bulk of his 22 points. Castro scored 12 points with three shots from outside. Pogoy had 15 points but did most of his damage inside the arc.

Alaska Aces 97 – Barangay Ginebra 83

The Alaska Aces took advantage of an undermanned Barangay Ginebra team to take home their third straight win in the Philippine Cup.

The game started off slow as both teams dug in defensively. They combined for only 17 points in the first six minutes of the opening period in a seesaw battle. Alaska took a slim 26-23 after one. Ginebra took control of the game in the second period. Mark Caguioa scored back-to-back baskets to give his team the lead back. Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Ginebra an eight-point lead to close out the first half.

Midway through the third period, Aguilar picked up his fourth personal foul, forcing Coach Tim Cone to play small ball with Kevin Ferrer manning the four spot. Alaska immediately pounded the ball inside against the undersized Ginebra frontline. Vic Manuel scored eight of the Aces’ next 14 points as he worked for his points inside. Manuel bodied up Ferrer for a hook shot and he muscled his way into an offensive put back. Then got a nice pass for a short floater and added a jumper to boot. Alaska took an 11-point lead on a 14-2 run.

In the fourth quarter, Abueva led the Aces on a 12-2 run to extend the lead to 18 points. He scored on a floater inside and found Chris Banchero on a fast break attack for an and-one bucket. That lead was too much for Ginebra to overcome and Alaske cruised to the win. Manuel led the Aces with 18 points and five boards. Sonny Thoss added 17 points and four rebounds.

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