Michael Angelo S. Murillo,
THE TnT Tropang Giga go for the knockout (KO) to secure a spot in the finals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup in Game Six of their best-of-seven semifinal series against the San Miguel Beermen on Friday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Playing at 3 p.m., TnT aims for the jugular that would send it to the finals of the Philippine Basketball Association All-Filipino tournament for the second straight season.
The Tropang Giga, losing finalists last year, moved to a position of advantage following a 110-90 rout of the Beermen in Game Five on Wednesday that broke a 2-2 tie in the series.
It was a dominant performance by TnT right from the start, never allowing San Miguel to get its game going.
The Tropang Giga opened the contest with a 30-9 run in the first nine minutes of the match and never looked back from there.
The team played with added bounce, playing with a full complement of players.
Previously unavailable Kelly Williams (health and safety protocols) finally returned and injured JP Erram (fractured cheekbone) fought through and played.
The two combined for 22 points and nine rebounds while also doing their share in countering San Miguel’s big men.
“I have to give credit to those two guys (Williams and Erram). They came out and played, giving us huge minutes,” said TnT coach Chot Reyes in the post-Game Five press conference.
Also stepping up big for the Tropang Giga in the win was veteran guard Jayson Castro, who finished with 19 points and eight assists apart from being a steadying presence.
Rookie Mikey Williams and Roger Pogoy each had 18 points. The latter bounced back from a two-point showing in the previous game and was efficient with a 50% (7-of-14) shooting clip from the floor.
Troy Rosario, meanwhile, had 17 points and eight boards.
In last season’s Philippine Cup Finals, TnT fell to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in five games.
It is seeking its eighth PBA title in franchise history and first since winning the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup.
MAGNOLIA MAKES ANOTHER GO
Meanwhile, the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots make another go for a spot in the Philippine Cup Finals after being frustrated by the Meralco Bolts in Game Five of their own semifinal series.
Held a 3-1 series lead entering the last game, the Hotshots tried to close out the Bolts, but fell short, 102-98.
Allein Maliksi, Nards Pinto and Chris Newsome towed Meralco to the gutsy win.
Magnolia was led by Mark Barroca and Calvin Abueva, finishing with 25 and 19 points, respectively.
Game Six of the Magnolia-Meralco series is set at 6 p.m.