TNT destroys San Miguel, grabs 2-1 semis lead

Published October 8, 2021, 8:24 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

TNT made sure it would sustain a big lead this time and rolled past San Miguel Beer, 115-98, to regain control of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series with a 2-1 lead Friday, Oct. 8 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

An 11-0 start highlighted by three Poy Erram triples allowed the Tropang Giga to secure a wire-to-wire win and make up for the bitter feeling of squandering a huge margin that resulted in a shock Game 2 defeat.

Unlike in the first two games, TNT prevented San Miguel from making a rally in the fourth and led by a of 25.

“In both games, we got beat in the fourth quarter. So sabi namin our focus now was to come out and play the full 48 minutes,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes. “And after the third quarter when we had the lead, yun lang naman ang pinag-usapan namin. We just reminded them, ‘OK, ito na naman tayo. Starting the fourth quarter, the last 12 minutes, let’s focus, lock in and remember what we talked about: we need to be able to close out games. We need to play a complete 48 minutes.’  

“And to the credit of the players, they responded. I wish I could give you some magic, fantastic answer, wala naman talaga. Yun lang. Just keeping it simple,” he added.

Erram’s early offensive spark and defensive presence led to 21 points and 13 rebounds, all conference highs.

RR Pogoy topscored with 26 points which was also a conference-high while rookie guard Mikey Williams put up 20 points for his scoring game against SMB dating back to the eliminations but went 7-of-22 from the field.

Two more TNT players reached double figures in Troy Rosario with 14 points and Kib Montalbo adding 11.

Terrence Romeo dropped 22 points but SMB never got things going after TNT’s hot start to put itself in a must-win situation in Game 4 set Sunday, Oct. 10.

The Beermen’s closest was at eight at 33-25 during the second quarter on a free throw by June Mar Fajardo.

But a three by Kib Montalbo kickstarted an 8-0 TNT run for a 41-25 advantage midway in the same period.

SMB never got the deficit below double figures the rest of the way as TNT hiked its margin in the second half. 

The scores:

TNT 115 — Pogoy 26, Erram 21, M.Williams 20, Rosario 14, Montalbo 9, Castro 9, Heruela 4, Khobuntin 4, Marcelo 2, Reyes 2, Mendoza 2, Exciminiano 0, Alejandro 0.

SAN MIGUEL 98 — Romeo 22, Perez 14, Fajardo 14, Cabagnot 12, Tautuaa 11, Santos 9, Pessumal 5, Lassiter 3, Ross 3, Gamalinda 3, Zamar 2, Gotladera 0, Comboy 0.

Quarters: 29-20, 54-42, 85-68, 115-98.