Oftana Calvin Oftana of TNT Tropang Giga goes for a layup in this bit of action in the PBA Philippine Cup. PBA photo

TNT, Blackwater in winning starts

February 29, 2024 Robert Andaya 145 views

TNT and Blackwater fashioned out similar inspiring victories over their respective opponents at the start of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

The Tropang Giga celebrated the return of veteran coach Chot Reyes with a heart-stopping 108-107 victory over Rain or Shine, while the Bossing rode on Rey Nambatac’s big game in a 96-93 win over Meralco in a pair of exciting opening-day action.

Calvin Oftana came through with a double-double of 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead four other players in double figures for the Tropang Giga.

RR Pogoy added 22 points, Kim Aurin, contributed 21 points, and new member Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser had 15 points and 14 rebounds in his debut with the Tropang Giga.

Veteran Jayson Castro had 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Leo Santillan and Adrian Nocum shared scoring honors for Rain or Shine with 20 points apiece.

Backing them up are Andrei Caracut (15 points), Shaun Ildefonso (11) and Beau Belga (10).

Earlier, Nambatac shone in his debut for Blackwater over Meralco.

Former Rain or Shine guard Nambatac delivered a standout performance with a double-double of 27 points on 6-of-15 shooting, 10 assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of action for coach Jeff Cariaso.

Troy Rosario added 15 points and four rebounds, Rey Suerte contributed 11 points, four rebounds and three assists and Tyrus Hill chipped in with 10 points.

This victory marked Blackwater’s first triumph since their 103-84 victory against Converge in the Commissioner’s Cup opener back in November. Following that win, the team experienced a 10-game losing streak, finishing next-to-last in what was Cariaso’s inaugural conference with the team.

Allein Maliksi led the Bolts by pouring 20 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter but missed his final three-point attempt.

Chris Newsome added 16 points, while Aaron Black, Jolo Mendoza, and Raymar Jose each contributed 10 points for Meralco.

The scores:

First game

Blackwater (96)– Nambatac 27, Rosario 15, Suerte 11, Hill 10, DiGregorio 9, David 7, Escoto 6, Guinto 5, Yap 5, Jopia 1, Ilagan 0, Kwekuteye 0, Sena 0.
Meralco (93)– Maliksi 27, Newsome 16, Jose 10, Mendoza 10, Black 10, Hodge 6, Banchero 5, Quinto 3, Bates 3, Torres 3, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Pascual 0.
Quarterscores: 18-26, 43-41, 72-62, 96-93.

Second game

TNT (108) – Oftana 23, Pogoy 22, Aurin 21, Ganuelas-Rosser B. 15, Castro 14, Galinato 4, Khobuntin 4, Ganuelas-Rosser M. 3, Montalbo 2, Williams 0, Ebona 0, Reyes 0, Heruela 0, Ponferrada 0.
Rain or Shine (107) — Nocum 20, Santillan 20, Caracut 15, Ildefonso 11, Belga 10, Datu 8, Demusis 6, Clarito 6, Mamuyac 5, Borboran 4, Norwood 2, Concepcion 0.
Quarterscores: 26-26, 51-52, 83-88, 108-107.