Garcia saves TNT from unconventional loss to Kia
With the flagship MVP franchise holding on to a two-point lead, Garcia, acquired from San Miguel in a mid-season trade last year, nailed two clutch baskets, the last one with 44 seconds left to help TNT survive Kia.
In a game where TNT's two veteran stars came to play, it was a veteran reserve that saved the KaTropa from a rather unconventional loss.
RR Garcia hit two timely layups for TNT as the KaTropa survived a game challenge from Kia, 90-85, in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
With the flagship MVP franchise holding on to a two-point lead, Garcia, acquired from San Miguel in a mid-season trade last year, nailed two clutch baskets, the last one with 44 seconds left to help TNT survive.
By splitting from the line with nine seconds to go, Garcia actually scored the team's last five points, which turned out to be the final margin of victory for the KaTropa.
"The problem starts with the expectations. A lot of times you go to a game against kia and people expect a blowout game. Especially them having lost, I think two games by 30 plus. But me as a coach, rather than focus on those two blowout losses, I was really focusing on their win against Rain or Shine that's why I was saying as a team, they are unpredictable and dangerous," head coach Nash Racela said.
"I don’t think our players got that message for today in this game. Number one is were coasting along and number two is Kia really played well tonight," he added.
True enough, the KaTropa had trouble putting Kia away all game long despite Kelly Williams and Jayson Castro playing well at the same time.
In fact, the Picanto was still leading in the second half, 62-58, after a big 8-0 run.
However, the KaTropa quickly answered back, firing a 13-0 blast to regain control, 71-62.
Williams finished with a game-high 23 points on top of eight rebounds while Castro had 22 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Garcia tallied 13 points, 10 in the fourth quarter, as TNT improved to 4-3.
For Kia, Rashawn McCarthy led the way with 21 points but the Picanto dropped to 1-6 for the season.
TNT (90): Williams 23, Castro 22, Garcia 13, Torres 7, Semerad 7, Rosario 6, Pogoy 5, Carey 3, Reyes 2, Onwubere 2, Hernandez 0
Kia (85): McCarthy 21, Corpuz 17, Galanza 9, Camson 8, Yee 7, Khobuntin 6, Lastimosa 5, Escoto 5, Tubid 3, Gabriel 2, Sara 2, Ababou 0
Quarter scores: 28-24, 42-39, 69-62, 90-85
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8