TNT goes for jugular

PBA Photo

September 2, 2022

Game today:
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. — TNT vs San Miguel

Series summary:
Game 1: TNT 84, San Miguel 86
Game 2: San Miguel 109, TNT 100
Game 3: San Miguel 100, TNT 108
Game 4: TNT 100, San Miguel 87
Game 5: TNT 102, San Miguel 93

Red-hot TNT Tropang Giga goes for the killer blow as it faces struggling San Miguel Beer in Game 6 of their Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup best-of-seven finale today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Tropang Giga’s first of two chances to bring home the title will kick off at 5:45 p.m., but they are tipped to go all out as they want nothing but to wrap up the series and prove that they are still the best team in the all-Filipino tournament.

TNT showed its composure as everyone stepped up to stage a masterful 102-93 Game 5 win despite the early exit of Jayson Castro.

Castro, the grizzled veteran who led TNT to Games 1 and 4 victories, suffered an ankle injury after landing on the foot of Marcio Lassiter with still eight minutes left in the third period of Game 5.

With the injury, he was forced to sit out for the remainder of the game and is now doubtful to see action as TNT physical therapist Dexter Aseron assessed that he is still in pain.

Castro’s absence forced TNT head coach Chot Reyes to unleash Mikey Williams and Kelly Williams, who both delivered to give them a crucial 3-2 series lead.

Mikey, last year’s top rookie, had his best game of the series by firing 23 points laced with six triples, five assists and two rebounds.

The 40-year-old Kelly, meanwhile, was a force inside the paint with 21 markers, nine rebounds and two blocks, followed by his backcourt tandem Poy Erram with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Regardless of whether Castro will play or not, Reyes knows that his players need to brace for war.

“The hardest games to win are the last games so we have no illusions about it. It’s going to be a huge, difficult war so we just have to be prepared,” Reyes said.

“We expected (Game 5) to be tough, and the next game is not going to be any different. We haven’t beaten San Miguel two in a row yet, and we found a way.”

“All we can do is prepare ourselves and control the things that are within our control. Just be ready for Friday.”

But San Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo doesn’t want his comeback attempt to get spoiled.

Fajardo reminded his teammates not to lose confidence as they still have the chance to bounce back and push the series to a decider on Sunday.

TNT’s defense was a headache as it stole the ball from the Beermen 11 times, even limiting the Leo Austria-mentored squad to a poor 4-of-20 shooting beyond the arc.

“We really need to win one more game, the series is not yet over,” Fajardo, the newly-crowned Best Player of the Conference, said.

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