TNT KaTropa moved within reach of a semifinals spot after thumping the Meralco Bolts, 102-84, in Game One of their best-of-three Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series on Monday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Jayson Castro led the KaTropa charge with 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Import Joshua Smith had 19 points, while Mo Tautuaa had 13 points and three assists.
KaTropa looked sharp right after tip-off, zooming to a 21-6 lead behind Castro’s nine points in the first quarter.
KaTropa maintained the lead for the rest of the first half. The Bolts however pulled closer in the third quarter, with a 12-2 run led by Jared Dillinger and Chris Newsome trimming TNT’s lead to just two points, 53-51.
But that was the closest Meralco could get, as RR Garcia and Mo Tautuaa teamed up in a 16-8 finishing kick to the third period to push KaTropa’s lead, 69-59.
TNT went on to dominate the fourth frame, leading by as many as 24 points to secure the win.
Newsome paced the Bolts with 21 points, three boards and four dimes. But he got little help from their import Alex Stepheson who only managed to score nine points and grab 16 rebounds.