TNT showed no let up despite securing the top seed and the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals after cruising to a 105-83 win over Alaska Saturday, Sept. 18 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Five players scored in double figures while coach Chot Reyes allowed some of his second unit to keep things in order throughout as the Tropang Giga finished the eliminations with a league-best 10-1 record.
“The only thing we talked about this game was how we can grow,” Reyes said. “We wanted to try some things in this game that we haven’t been doing, that we haven’t done in the past few games.
“And that’s all we’re focused on now, just to continue growing, getting better as a team,” added Reyes, who will try to keep TNT’s form during a long lull before its clash with the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.
RR Pogoy topscored with 18 points, Poy Erram had 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, rookie Mikey Williams and Kelly Williams scored 12 points each with the former having seven assists and reserve guard J-Jay Alejandro added 11 for the Tropang Giga.
Ryan Reyes was also key for TNT with nine points, five rebounds and two steals.
Abu Tratter scored 12 points but was 3-of-11 from the field while grabbing nine rebounds for Alaska, which couldn’t replicate its stunning 89-75 win over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the second of a stretch of games in three straight days.
The Aces slipped to ninth spot at 3-5 going into the final game of a difficult stretch against the Terrafirma Dyip.
Pogoy scored eight in a row to start the second quarter, Mikey Williams knocked down back-to-back triples and Kelly Williams hit a three of his own as TNT led 47-28 with over two minutes before halftime.
Alaska threatened a rally in the third when pulled to within three, 51-48, on a layup by Maverick Ahanmisi with 7:39 left in the period. But Erram and Alejandro sparked a 10-2 response for a 61-50 TNT lead before going into the fourth up 68-56.
Three consecutive three-pointers by Reyes virtually sent TNT to victory with an 83-66 lead near the halfway mark of the payoff period.
TNT 103 — Pogoy 18, Erram 17, Williams M. 12, Williams K. 12, Alejandro 9, Reyes 9, Marcelo 7, Rosario 5, Exciminiano 3, Mendoza 3, Heruela 2, Castro 2, Javier 2.
ALASKA 85 — Tratter 12, Casio 11, Marcelino 9, Banal 9, DiGregorio 8, Brondial 8, Browne 7, Ahanmisi 5, Herndon 5, Adamos 4, Teng 4, Ebona 3, Stockton 0, Publico 0.
Quarters: 22-15, 49-37, 68-56, 103-85.