The PBA team TNT Tropang Giga team, which booked a finals berth after hacking out an 87-74 Game 6 win over Magnolia at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on August 14, is taking a much-needed few-day break while awaiting the Game 7 result of the other semifinal playoff between the San Miguel Beermen and Meralco Bolts Game on Wednesday, August 17.
TNT cruised through the championship series by beating the Magnolia Hotshots, 4-2, in their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals.
Tropang Giga head coach Chot Reyes said the break ahead of the finals series is a huge relief to his weary squad that booked their third straight all-Filipino finals.
He said, “It’s very big for us. As you can see, we’ve got a lot of players who are banged up. So that extra break would really come in handy.”
The veteran coach said the break would be a great opportunity for them to prepare physically and mentally for what could be another tough series head with the title and the Emilio Bernardino Trophy on the line.
Reyes also said that it would also give them a chance to check how the other series is going, adding:
“I haven’t really taken a look at the other series. I caught glimpses, here and there, but now at least, we can take a look.”
PBA star Jayson
Jayson “The Blur” Castro steered TNT’s Sunday night victory with a three-point jump shot, barely two minutes and 51 seconds left in the game to stretch their lead, 80-72, which seemingly hurt the Hotshots’ resolve and drove their collapse at the stretch. The Hotshots only scored on Paul Lee’s perfect two penalty baskets after that, succumbing to a series of crucial misses.
TNT kept its momentum behind Roger Pogoy’s layup and one charity basket after he was fouled by Magnolia’s Paul Lee, with only 1:53 remaining. Tropang Giga’s Glenn Khobuntin also knocked in a trey while Michael Williams’ charity point wrapped up the match.
Castro finished with 26 while Michael chipped in 15 and Pogoy and Khobuntin added identical 14 markers. Pogoy’s five blocks further spiced up his performance.
Kelly and John Paul Erram did most of the rebounding for TNT, grabbing 13 and 10 boards, respectively.
Reyes said his players were resolved not to allow the Hotshots to outwork them amid Erram’s ejection from the game after his hard foul on Ian Sangalang, who suffered a cut on his forehead, barely a minute before the final quarter started.
Hotshots’ Calvin Abueva, for his part, was also whistled out in the final 5:13 of the match having fouled off a driving Khobuntin who easily converted his two charities.
Sangalang figured in a double-double, drilling in 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds as Abueva scored 16 in the first half.
Coming off from the bench, Jio Jalalon canned 11 baskets and took six boards while Lee made 10 points.
Mark Barroca had an off night as he was limited to only three points although he issued nine assists on top of four rebounds and two steals. His performance was a far cry from his 25 points when Magnolia won Game 5, 105-97.
TNT 87 – Castro 26, M.Williams 15, Pogoy 14, Khobuntin 11, Erram 8, K.Williams 4, Rosario 4, Montalbo 2, Reyes 0, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Magnolia 74 – Sangalang 16, Abueva 16, Jalalon 11, Lee 10, Dela Rosa 6, Laput 4, Wong 3, Barroca 3, Dionisio 2, Escoto 2, Corpuz 1, Brill 1, Reavis 0, Ahanmisi 0, Zaldivar 0.
Quarters: 21-17, 42-34, 60-55, 87-74