TNT displays own never-say-die in beating Ginebra for top spot
Jayson Castro of TNT drives strong to the basket against Sidney Onwubere of Barangay Ginebra. Photo courtesy of PBA
TNT closed out its elimination round as the hottest team and emerged as the top seed entering the quarterfinal round of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.
The Tropang Giga capped the first round with a huge come-from-behind 114-105 triumph over crowd darling Barangay Ginebra and ended the elimination round with an eight-game winning streak Friday at the Philsports Arena.
More importantly, it allowed the Tropang Giga to finish with a tournament-best 10-1 win-loss card as they are coming to the playoffs in high spirits.
Curiously, it was the Tropang Giga who displayed their version of never-say-die attitude in pulling this one off over the Gin Kings as they fought back from 14 points down in the second half before turning the tables on their rivals.
“The guys are coming around,” said TNT coach Jojo Lastimsoa. “Rondae is beginning to figure out how to play with the guys. The reason why we got Rondae is we know he can make his teammates better. We were behind for the most part of the game, but the guys didn’t panic. We made shots when we needed to and the guys showed poise the whole game.”
Hollis-Jefferson, the highly-touted National Basketball Association veteran, got the better end of his match up with three-time Best Import Justin Brownlee.
The do-it-all TNT reinforcement finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block.
But the rest of the Tropang Giga made some key contributions led by Roger Pogoy, who not only tallied 22 markers, but also played a good number of minutes defending Brownlee.
Mikey Williams came in locked and loaded in the game, erupting for 25 points, including five three-point shots, while Calvin Oftana and Jayson Castro tallied 12 apiece.
Castro also had six rebounds, four assists and two steals and came up with big plays in picking up the loose balls when push came to shove.
“Jayson has done that for a long time and although he’s a bit slower now, he’s still smart and he can get quick to the ball as anyone else, so it may not be a rebound from the top, but when it comes to loose ball, you can rely on Jayson as quick as anyone and I’m not surprised he’s still doing all these things,” said Lastimosa.
TNT 114 – Hollis-Jefferson 34, M.Williams 25, Pogoy 22, Oftana 12, Castro 12, K.Williams 5, Chua 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Montalbo 0, Varilla 0, Khobuntin 0
GINEBRA 105 – Brownlee 27, Standhardinger 19, Thompson 19, Malonzo 15, Pringle 10, Gray 5, Pessumal 3, David 3, Onwubere 2, Dillinger 2, Pinto 0, Mariano 0
QUARTERS: 23-27, 47-56, 82-93, 114-105
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