MANILA — Nash Racela didn't get an ideal finish to his collegiate coaching year. He made sure to open a new chapter with the perfect start.
Kelly Williams scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half and the TNT KaTropa had little trouble subduing the Phoenix Fuel Masters 117-98 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
It was Racela's first win for TNT since coming on board from the FEU Tamaraws.
"[Of course] masaya because we were able to get this win, but this is not the main objective [winning in his debut],” said Racela, who was hired midway through the UAAP season but committed to the Tamaraws until their campaign was over. FEU was eliminated in the semifinals.
He said TNT played with the correct mindset, never letting up from start to finish despite leading by as many as 21 points.
"Coming from the collegiate ranks, sanay kami na every possession dumidiin," explained Racela. "That's something we're trying to develop here in Talk ‘N Text."
"Even during the last six to seven minutes we reminded them na we're looking for consistency. Diinan pa rin natin," he added.
Jason Castro came off the bench with 18 points, while Troy Rosario added 17 points and nine rebounds. Williams also grabbed 10 rebounds while helping the Texters improve to a 3-2 win-loss record.
The first quarter was close. Phoenix was down by only one, 18-17, after Matthew Wright's three-pointer.
But the drama quickly dissipated when TNT went on a run to go up 48-27 midway through the second quarter.
Mark Borboran led Phoenix with 18 points.
The Fuel Masters, which lost by 44 points against the Star Hotshots prior to the game against the Texters, dropped to third defeat in five games.
TNT 117 — Williams 18, Castro 18, Rosario 17, Rosales 14, Tautuaa 11, Carey 8, Pogoy 7, reyes 7, De Ocampo 5, Rosser 5, Tamsi 5, Golla 2, Sumalinog 0.
PHOENIX 98 — Borboran 18, Wright 17, Baguio 15, Intal 11, Alolino 10, Caperal 9, Enciso 6, Miranda 4, Wilson J. 3, Wilson W. 3, Hayes 2, Javillonar 0, Lanete 0, Torres 0.
Quarterscores: 28-22, 60-45, 90-69, 117-98
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.