TNT spoils NLEX’s double celebration after completing a 22-point comeback

Calvin Oftana steered TNT to a come-from-behind victory over the NLEX Road Warriors (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The TNT Tropang Giga meant all business inside the hardwood despite the debut of superstar guard Robert Bolick with the NLEX Road Warriors and the jersey retirement ceremony of legendary big man center Asi Taulava.

NLEX approached the game with all smiles knowing that their “kuya” Asi will be cemented as a forever PBA great due to his retirement ceremony while also feeling confident with the addition of Bolick in their lineup.

However, the Tropang Giga had other plans and pulled off a massive 22-point comeback, 113-97, last December 12, 2023, in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

From a 44-66 hole in the third quarter, the Tropang Giga looked dead in the water as the Road Warriors continued its shooting prowess after the halftime jersey retirement.

Just when the Road Warriors thought they could sustain its firepower, the Tropang Giga changed the entire complexion of the game after Calvin Oftana exploded at the most perfect time for TNT.

The versatile swingman erupted for 19 points alone in the third quarter and quickly put the Tropang Giga ahead, 80-78, entering the final period.

After Oftana single-handedly outscored the whole NLEX team in the third quarter, the Road Warriors fell flat in the most crucial stretch of the game and failed to recover in the next 12 minutes.

It was all TNT in the fourth as they extended their largest lead of the game to 18 points with only two minutes left, officially fending off the Road Warriors from contention.

Oftana wrapped up his impressive game with 29 points built from an efficient 8/15 shooting from the field including five drained three-pointers.

Meanwhile, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson continued to dominate for TNT after contributing 33 big points, 15 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

On the other hand, Bolick didn’t have a warm welcome in his first game back with the PBA after only producing nine markers and four assists.

Import Stokley Chaffee Jr. also struggled from the field and was only limited to 15 points and 17 rebounds.