TNT came out with all guns blazing and built enough cushion to stave off Magnolia’s desperate late game fightback to walk away with a 105-93 victory and a commanding 2-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven finals series Friday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU) Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Rookie Mikey Williams picked up from where he left off in the series opener as he poured 28 points this time to pace the Tropang Giga, who moved two steps closer to claiming its first title in seven years.
Game 3 is on Sunday.
Williams, who finished with 21 points in Game 1, added nine rebounds and dished off six assists for TNT.
Hometown hero Jayson Castro added 16 markers, four rebounds and five assists, while Troy Rosario posted 12 points and six rebounds for the Chot Reyes-mentored squad. Brian Heruela had 11 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting and Ryan Reyes got 10 markers.
The Hotshots overcame a 21-point halftime deficit as Ian Sangalang sank a floater that put them within four, 86-90, in the payoff period before Castro restored order and put them back ahead by 15 in the closing minutes of the game.
“(It’s about) execution and selflessness. The willingness of our players to make the extra pass and find the open guy,” Reyes said.
“If they are willing to share the ball and move, then they will find the open men. That’s what led to the hot shooting in the first half.”
Another strong start gave TNT a comfortable 40-27 separation after the first canto.
Williams and Brian Heruela sizzled beyond the arc as the Tropang Giga fired 13 long bombs that stretched their lead to 21 points, 57-36, before heading to the second half.
Sangalang led Magnolia with 25 points and eight rebounds, while Paul Lee struggled with only 12 points on a horrendous 0-of-6 shooting from downtown.
TNT (105) – M.Williams 28, Castro 16, , Rosario 12, Heruela 11, Reyes 10, Pogoy 9, Erram 6, Khobuntin 5, Montalbo 5, K.Williams 3, Exciminiano 0.
MAGNOLIA (93) – Sangalang 25, Lee 12, Barroca 11, Abueva 11, Dionisio 9, Ahanmisi 6, Jalalon 5, Reavis 4, Dela Rosa 2, Corpuz 0
Quarters: 40-27, 66-50, 86-79, 105-93