The king of PBA Philippine Cup will get the chance to defend the throne.
Jayson Castro saved his best game for the last, guiding TNT to its third straight finals appearance following an 87-74 victory that finished off Magnolia in six games in the best-of-seven semifinals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, Aug. 14.
The ever-dependable veteran guard delivered a conference-best 26 points including a dagger triple that doused the Hotshots’ rally with 2:51 left and secured the first seat in the PBA Finals with a 4-2 semis series win.
Castro actually dropped 17 of his output in the second half as TNT bucked the ejection of Poy Erram after being assessed with a flagrant foul penalty 2 following an inadvertent elbow hit that left Ian Sangalang with a bloody forehead early in the final frame.
Glenn Khobuntin gave TNT a huge lift in the payoff period with 10 of his 14 points capped by a left corner trey that sealed the finals spot for TNT.
Mikey Williams had 15 points across his name although he shot 5-of-16 from the field.
Sangalang and Calvin Abueva paced the Hotshots with 16 points apiece although the latter was badly missed in endgame after fouling out midway through the final frame.