MANILA (UPDATED) -- Roger Pogoy netted a career-high, and Jayson Castro put the finishing touches on TNT Tropang Giga's 100-95 come-from-behind victory over the Alaska Aces to open their campaign in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
In the first game held at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Gym in Pampanga on Sunday, the Tropang Giga fell behind by 17 points, but clawed their way back into the game behind Pogoy's scoring explosion.
It was still Castro who iced the game for TNT, however, with the veteran guard coming up with the big buckets in crunch time to seal the deal.
"We're just lucky we survived this game," admitted TNT head coach Bong Ravena.
Pogoy had a career-best 45 points, making 17 of his 29 field goals including 10 of 17 three-pointers in nearly 42 minutes of action. He added eight rebounds and two assists to his line. Castro, meanwhile, had 28 points.
The Tropang Giga lost Poy Erram to ejection with 20 seconds to play, and saw several players take a spill on the court. Even Pogoy, the hero of the game, sustained a cut above his right eye that needed to be dealt with late in the contest.
Pogoy drilled a huge fallaway three-pointer with under three minutes to go to tie the count at 92, with the swingman beating the shot clock. Ryan Reyes added two free throws for a 94-92 count with 1:39 left.
A split at the line by Vic Manuel made it a one-point game, but Castro came back with two free throws to make it 96-93.
Alaska then squandered a golden opportunity to tie the game, as Abu Tratter converted a layup but could not complete the and-1 play off a foul by Lervin Flores. That kept the Aces down by 1, 96-95, with under a minute left.
It was Castro who again came up with the big shot, as he sliced into the lane for a layup that extended their lead to three points. Alaska fumbled their next possession, with Reyes getting causing a deflection before Castro completed the steal. Off a timeout, Alaska had no choice but to foul, and Castro iced the game at the free throw line.
"Noong first quarter, parang nangangapa pa kami," said Pogoy. "Ang dami naming lapses. Pero expected naman 'yun. Sinasabi ni coach na 'di talaga perfect ang laro ngayon kasi six months kaming walang laro."
TNT came out slow, while Alaska made its first four three-pointers to build a double-digit lead. The Aces were up 30-15 at the end of the first frame, but Pogoy exploded for 21 points in the second period to drag the Tropang Giga back in the contest.
Four players scored in double-digits for Alaska, led by Tratter with 17 points. Robbie Herndon and Mike DiGregorio each had 16 markers.
The Scores :
TNT 100 - Pogoy 45, Castro 28, Enciso 2, Rosario 9, Leon 4, Semerad 4, Erram 4, Parks 0, Carey 2 , Kings 2, Alexander 0, Montalbo 0, You 0, Washington 0, Flowers 0
ALASKA 95 - Tratter 17, DiGregory 16, Herndon 16, Manuel 15, Racal 8, Marcelino 5, Brondial 5, Ebona 4, Teng 3, Ahanmisi 0, Galliguez 2, Ayaay 2, Casio 2, Public 0, Andrada 0.
Quarter scoring -- 15-30, 48-48, 71-72, 100-95.