KaTropa dodge upset axe

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    TNT coach Bong Ravena should not be too sore with his team on this one.

    Despite giving up another 30-point quarter, the tournament-leading KaTropa still emerged a 103-100 winner over NorthPort last night in a thriller of a match to stay unbeaten in the PBA Governors Cup at the Astrodome.

    Troy Rosario scattered 17 of his 22 points in the final period and joined hands with KJ McDaniels in sparking and finishing a furious finishing kick by TNT that propped it back from a nine-point deficit and into its fifth win in as many games.

    It also didn’t hurt the KaTropa that Ryan Reyes pulled off a steal off Mychal Ammons in the last two seconds, preventing the Batang Pier from scoring a putback that would have overhauled their one-point deficit.

    That swipe also led to two free throws by Rosario that made it a 103-101 game, a count that stood when Sean Anthony’s three-point try fell short at the buzzer.

    It was the closest winning margin by the KaTropa yet after topping Phoenix Pulse and Columbian by five, tempering Ravena’s elation.

    “Another tough game for us. NorthPort really made it tough for us. A little improvement on our defense, especially in the latter part of the game,” said Ravena. “We just have to continue working hard, especially on defense.”

    McDaniels wound up with game-highs of 30 points and 18 rebounds along with five assists while Roger Pogoy added 17. Even Jayson Castro came alive in the final canto where he scored six of his 10 points.

    The loss was the fourth straight for NorthPort, dropping it to a 1-4 slate.

    Garvo Lanete came off the bench to lead the Batang Pier with 23 points, Ammons had 14 points and 12 boards. Robert Bolick chipped in 12 points while Kevin Ferrer and Paolo Taha each wound up with at least 10 each.

    All those helped NorthPort come up with a 32-point third quarter that completed its rise from an early 13-point deficit and gave it control.

    The momentum seemed to carry over into the early minutes of the fourth period as the Batang Pier stretched their lead to as much as 82-73, 8:48 to go.

    Then TNT’s big guns, led by Rosario, started finding their mark.

    Rosario strung up nine points and had a total 12 during a 13-7 surge from a 77-84 count before McDaniels took over with six straight points to start an 8-6 exchange that put TNT on top 98-97.

    Ferrer boomed in a triple, but Rosario answered right back with his own bomb to give the edge back to the KaTropa.