MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The TNT Tropang Giga reclaimed the solo lead in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup after rolling past the Blackwater Elite, 109-96, on Thursday night at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Roger Pogoy shone anew, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Troy Rosario put up a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds, as TNT improved to 5-0.
The result put them half a game ahead of idle Barangay Ginebra (4-0). TNT got it done without superstar guard Jayson Castro, who sat out the game to rest after experiencing tightness in his right calf.
"We're happy for the win, and for Jayson, at least nakapahinga siya," said TNT head coach Bong Ravena, who noted that despite the big win, they still have plenty to work on.
"We have so many things to improve, especially on our defense," he explained. "So we have to get back again to the drawing board."
The Tropang Giga took control early, taking a 34-25 lead after the first quarter that was punctuated by a half-court buzzer beater from Simon Enciso. Aggressive play by Don Trollano late in the second quarter put the Elite back in the game, and they were able to trim the deficit to as low as seven points.
But they had no answer for Pogoy, who navigated his way past the Blackwater defenders for a layup that gave TNT a 61-49 lead at the break.
They maintained that double-digit spread for most of the second half, eventually leading by as much as 21 points, 102-81, thanks to a David Semerad lay-up with five minutes to go.
TNT endured a scary stretch with eight minutes left in the third quarter, when big man Poy Erram had to be helped off the court after apparently rolling his ankle. He was able to shake it off, and returned to the court at the 3:54 mark of the frame.
Erram finished with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Simon Enciso had 16 points, and Ray Parks added 18 as TNT got balanced scoring across the board.
For the Elite, it was a second consecutive defeat, dropping them to 2-3 in the All-Filipino Conference.
Don Trollano led Blackwater with 23 points, while Mac Belo added 16 points and eight rebounds. The Elite continue to miss the presence of No. 2 overall pick Maurice Shaw, who was kept out of the game due to back spasms.