Mikey Williams put up another scorching performance as TNT thumped Magnolia, 108-96, to draw first blood in their best-of-seven semifinals duel in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, August 3, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Williams fired 18 of his 26 points in the first half as the Tropang Giga stamped their class in the first two quarters to build a sizeable margin which they enjoyed and protected the rest of the way.
A 15-5 start for TNT set the tone for the romp before Williams went on a scoring spree in the second quarter, allowing TNT to build a commanding 54-37 lead at the half.
TNT head coach Chot Reyes was pleased to see his wards find their marks on the offensive end, something he credited to their efforts in limiting their turnovers.
“This is just one win. We’re playing for a long series. Whether it’s high scoring or not, our focus is to really get good shots and not to turn the ball over because Magnolia in transition is deadly,” said Reyes.
“We were able to make sure we got good attempts and not have live ball turnovers. Whether that resolves to a high scoring ball game or not, really depends on a lot of factors but for us we need to make sure that we don’t turn the ball over too much against this team,” he added.
Williams shot 4-of-8 from the rainbow territory while adding five rebounds, four assists and a steal. RR Pogoy backed him up with 23 points, 15 of which he unloaded during the second half when the Tropang Giga built the largest lead of the game at 24, 84-60 after a Jayson Castro layup with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.
The rout however didn’t come without a scare as the Hotshots tried to mount a comeback in the payoff period, embarking on a 12-4 spurt to cut the lead down to 13, 95-82, with 7:32 left in the game.
That, however, proved to be the closest Magnolia could get as TNT, behind their shocktroopers led by Glenn Khobuntin, managed to keep it at bay until the final buzzer.
Calvin Abueva paced Magnolia with 18 points while Aris Dionisio, Jio Jalalon and Iang Sangalang chipped in 14 points apiece
Game 2 of the semifinals is set on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum