Oftana stars as Tropang Giga escape Bolts

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Oftana stars as Tropang Giga escape Bolts
Calvin Oftana (8) starred for the TNT Tropang Giga
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- Calvin Oftana took over late in the fourth quarter to help the TNT Tropang Giga arrest their two-game skid in the PBA Philippine Cup at the expense of the Meralco Bolts, 92-90, Sunday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.

Oftana heated up late and had 26 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Tropang Giga, who stopped the Bolts’ two-game winning streak.

TNT led big in the first half, 49-36, thanks to 19 points from Oftana in the first two quarters.

Meralco then clawed back and eventually took the lead, 81-80, with a layup by Aaron Black.

The game turned into a nip-and-tuck affair, with a Newsome floater giving the Bolts an 87-84 lead with 3:24 left.

Oftana then unleashed seven points in a 9-0 run to take a 92-87 lead with 48 seconds remaining.

Bong Quinto tried to tow the Bolts back with a crucial and-one play with 36.3 ticks left to cut the lead to two, 90-92.

On the other end, Jayson Castro had the chance to lay a dagger up but he missed it. Black rushed for the transition play, but he was met in the rim by RR Pogoy, who blocked the potential game-tying basket.

Getting the ball back, the Bolts tried to win it at the buzzer, but Jolo Mendoza’s 3-pointer in the last second failed to make the mark.

Castro backstopped Oftana’s scoring output with 15 points and six rebounds.

Kelly Williams also had a throwback performance with an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double.

Pogoy also had 11 points.

Black and Cliff Hodge led the Bolts with 16 points apiece. Allein Maliksi added 11 points off the bench before fouling out.

“Yesterday, we didn’t practice. We just walked through some stuff for about 30 minutes because we said our problems are not technical, our problems are the intangibles,” TNT head coach Chot Reyes said.

“We left it at that at practice. Today, I just asked the players how much they want it, if they are willing to put in the effort and beat a great defensive team, physical team like Meralco. And, apparently, the players responded,” he added.

With the win, TNT rose to a 3-3 win-loss record. Meralco dropped to 3-4 in the season.

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