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TNT solves SMB puzzle.

Jayson Castro can't remember the last time TNT KaTropa beat San Miguel Beer.

After hitting all nine of his two-point attempts and finishing with 24 points and 11 assists, Castro helped the KaTropa snap a 10-game losing streak to the Beermen-dating nearly two years-as TNT won a second straight PBA Philippine Cup match, 104-93, at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao on Sunday night.

'I really can't remember, because it's been all losses,' Castro said in Filipino when someone asked him if he remembered their last win over San Miguel.

'That's why this [win] is special, because it gives us confidence that we can handle the [four-time] defending champions.'

TNT's last triumph over San Miguel came in Game 4 of the Commissioner's Cup Finals on June 2017, and for most of Sunday night, the Beermen appeared ready to extend that streak only for Castro and Troy Rosario to rescue the KaTropa.

Castro also finished with 11 assists and Rosario wound up with 23 points built around a 6-for-12 clip from three-point range.

Christian Standhardinger paced the Beermen with 24, and Von Pessumal had a 23-point night that came to naught as San Miguel got untracked in the second half with just 42 points, 17 in the final frame.

TNT thus climbed into a 2-2 tie with its victim and Columbian, which took a 107-97 loss at the hands of NLEX in the first game.

The Road Warriors opened up an 18-point lead in the first six minutes, bloated it to 31 late in the second quarter, and sat on a 24-point bubble at the half which proved too big for the game Dyip to overhaul in the last two periods.

It was the first win in three games for coach Yeng Guiao, who sat on pins and needles in the final two frames after the Dyip came perilously close early in the fourth period only to lose steam and be at a level 2-2.

'It's hard to put that team away, they just come at you every time,' Guiao said after drawing twin digits in scoring from five players led by the 23 of new acquisition Poy Erram.

'They (Dyip) are relentless and they are going to be a force [in this tournament].'

The Road Warriors gave up a lot to get their hands on the 6-foot-7 Erram, who also had 10 rebounds, six assists and five blocks in just under 36 minutes as he finished off his outing with eight points in the fourth period.

'We're very happy with the way Poy is coming up,' Guiao said. 'He's starting to settle down.'

Another revelation for Guiao is Marion Magat. The lanky center tabbed from the free agent market had 14 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 28, 2019
Words:544
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