It was supposed to be a battle between two of the league’s hottest superstars. But despite the absence of Jayson Castro and June Mar Fajardo, TNT and San Miguel still figured in a highly entertaining affair, with KaTropa ending the Beermen’s immaculate run with a 112-103 victory in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Donte Greene collected 41 points and 21 rebounds to carry TNT (6-2) which became the first team this conference to defeat the San Miguel (5-1).
Kelly Williams added 15 points and six boards while Larry Fonacier chipped in 14 points and buried big shots down the stretch to douse a rally by San Miguel.
With the SEABA Championship just a week away, TNT took the brunt of Gilas Pilipinas’ loaning of PBA players. KaTropa were forced to play without three key members in Castro, Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy.
But San Miguel also played sans Fajardo.
Despite their depleted lineup, KaTropa led by as many as 14 points, and had looked on its way to an easy win after leading 100-89 with 2:25 remaining in the game.
But the Beermen had one last run in them. Arwind Santos made an and-one, Charles Rhodes finished a putback slam, and Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter sank back-to-back layups to fuel a 9-0 late run that pulled them within two points with still 1:36 left.
Fonacier however responded with a booming triple that ignited a 7-0 counterattack.
San Miguel still tried to pull closer, but Fonacier broke their hearts with a dagger three-pointer with just 32 seconds remaining.
Rhodes paced the Beermen with 43 points and eight boards in the losing effort.