MANILA, Philippines – At the PhilSports Arena, the TNT Tropang Giga participated in Asi Taulava’s jersey during their future ceremony at halftime before taking center stage with a dominant second half that helped them defeat the NLEX Road Warriors 113 to 97.
Midway through their PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup elimination round campaign, the Tropang Giga improved to 3 to 3 after Rondae Hollis-Jefferson outperformed Stokley Chaffee and Calvin Oftana turned in a major performance.
In a unique game marred by a fourth consecutive loss in the end, the Road Warriors fell to 2 to 6 as they were unable to maintain their momentum after a brilliant start and a first-half comeback.
The debut of Robert Bolick in an NLEX uniform and Taulava’s record-breaking 24th and final season at age 50 made it a memorable night for the Road Warriors.
Taulava began the game for NLEX alongside Chaffee, Rob Herndon, Matt Nieto, and Enoch Valdez. In his minute and fifty-six seconds of power play, he recorded one defensive rebound.
Midway through the first quarter, Bolick, a trade acquisition from NorthPort, checked in, and he helped the Road Warriors build a lead as large as 22 points, leading them to a 58 to 39 halftime advantage.
Nevertheless, the Taulava/Bolick/NLEX celebration was ruined when the Tropang Giga emerged victorious from the halftime huddle.
Hollis and his teammates unleashed a massive 41 to 20 barrage to take the lead, 80 to 78, at the end of the third quarter upon the return of play following the Taulava rites.
Furthermore, the Tropang Giga showed no mercy as they exploited the Road Warriors, winning 33 to 19 during the payoff phase, capping off an incredible 38-point comeback.
In the 16-point victory Hollis-Jefferson scored without Jayson Castro, putting up 33 points as well as 15 rebounds, and Oftana scoring 29 points, five of which were three-pointers.
In addition to Kim Aurin, who played excellent minutes and scored 11 points with one three-pointer, Jewel Ponferrada supplied strength and firepower with 12 points and five screens.
Because of a cut to his hand that occurred early in the fourth quarter, Chaffee was only able to contribute 15 points and 17 rebounds.
In an eight-point effort, Bolick struggled with a 2-of-8 field clip, while Herndon and Valdez commanded the NLEX locals alongside 25 and 14 points, respectively.