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Rosario collects 30 points, helps TNT KaTropa stay in race for coveted seat

Rosario collects 30 points, helps TNT KaTropa stay in race for coveted seat

TNT KaTropa played tough sans an import in the last 18 minutes of play and upended Meralco, 91-85, to stay in the race for the Top Two in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday.

The Texters endured the lost of Josh Smith on a suspected fractured nose, leaning largely on the exploits of Troy Rosario, Jayson Castro and Jericho Cruz to nail the crucial six-point win.

Rosario scored a personal two-year high of 30 points, Castro added 20 while Cruz came through with nine of his 11 in the fourth quarter as the Texters checked a two-game skid and snapped the Bolts’ four-game romp.

Going to their final outing in the elims, the two teams are tied with identical 7-3 win-loss cards. Rain or Shine in on top at 8-1, followed by Alaska Milk at 7-2.

Curiously, TNT and Meralco both have ROS as final assignment in the elims.

“I’m happy with the way we played especially when Josh got hurt,” said TNT coach Nash Racela.

Minus Smith who sustained the suspected nose fracture on a wayward elbow by Arinze Onuaku, the Texters stayed calm and composed, and outplayed the Bolts to the finish.

The Texters were protecting a 55-50 lead on Smith’s exit with 6:01 left in the third. They made it a six-point game, 65-59, at the end of that quarter and led by as many as 15 before wrapping up the game.

Cruz drained a trey to cap an 11-point job, and that gave them the 15-point spread at 84-69 with five minutes left to play.

Smith went 2-of-2 from the field and collected six points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes of action.