TNT KaTropa sealed the last quarterfinal spot in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup after dominating the Phoenix Fuel Masters in their knockout match, 118-97, on Sunday night at the Big Dome.
The KaTropa shook off a slow start before breaking away permanently in the second half to make their seventh consecutive playoff appearance, setting up a clash with top seed San Miguel Beer.
Troy Rosario caught fire from beyond the arc to lead the way for TNT, putting up 18 points on four three-pointers. Jayson Castro almost had a triple-double after posting 17 markers, eight rebounds, and nine assists along with two steals and one block.
Jericho Cruz picked up from where he left off from their last game as he wounded up with 17 points, three boards, two assists, two steals, and one block in just his second game as a KaTropa player.
TNT took the fight out of the Fuel Masters in the third canto when they outscored them, 40-27, to build a 94-76 lead that grew to as much as 29 points in the payoff period.
Matthew Wright tallied 17 markers, six boards, and six dimes in a losing effort as the Fuel Masters were sent to early vacation with a 5-7 record in the All-Filipinp Cup.
With a twice-to-win disadvantage heading into the next round, the KaTropa will try to survive their third straight do-or-die battle when they take on the defending champions on Tuesday, March 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena at 4:30 p.m.
TNT 118 – Rosario 18, Cruz 17, Castro 17, Pogoy 15, Semerad 12, Williams 11, Tautuaa 10, Reyes 5, Tamsi 4, Garcia 4, Paredes 3, Nuyles 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Torres 0.
PHOENIX 97 – Wright 18, Kramer 16, Alolino 13, Jazul 11, Perkins 10, Chan 9, Mendoza 7, Eriobu 5, Intal 4, Wilson 2, Guevarra 2, Dehesa 0, Cortes 0, Gamboa 0.
Quarter scores: 27-25, 54-49, 94-76, 118-97.