Jericho Cruz, Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy also came through with fine jobs as the Texters withstood the Road Warriors’ gritty challenge to regain a piece of the lead with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 6-1.
“We just tried doing a lot of combinations today — Jayson and Terrence playing together, Tony Semerad playing the four spot because we feel that’s something we will be needing in the future,” said TNT coach Nash Racela.
TNT warded off NLEX in the end and handed the Road Warriors a fifth loss against two wins.
Smith scored 12 of his 24 points on the fourth quarter, Romeo sizzled with 19 markers off the bench while Semerad played his best game in a TNT uniform, firing away six three-pointers and a total of 22 points.
The starting combination of Semerad, Smith, Castro, Cruz and Troy Rosario got the Texters to a swashbuckling start but the Road Warriors had their own fiery run in the middle quarters, erasing a 21-point deficit to move ahead at 80-79.
But the Texters just won’t be denied with their superior line-up ranged against the NLEX side badly crippled by the ouster of top guards Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas.
Castro, Romeo and Smith played together at the finish and worked on a closing 9-2 tear to foil NLEX’s upset bid and preserve Semerad’s 22-point explosion.