Unbeaten TNT tightens grip at No. 1 spot, tops Magnolia
MANILA, Philippines—TNT kept its perfect slate as it turned back Magnolia, 83-76, to remain atop the table in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Tropang Giga are the lone undefeated team in the league with a 6-0 record while the Hotshots have now lost two of their last three games as they dropped to 5-2 tying Meralco in second.
While TNT didn’t go on any quick offensive bursts, it did fend off any advances from the Hotshots throughout the second half.
The Tropang Giga built a narrow 43-36 lead off the back of a 6-0 run capped by Jayson Castro’s layup early in the third quarter.
That margin eventually became TNT’s foundation as the closest Magnolia got was 52-56 with five seconds left in the penultimate frame.
“Our focus for this game was very simple, we have to outwork them,” said TNT head coach Chot Reyes. “I think we were able to do that. We’re a work in progress but at least we didn’t back down.”
Castro finished with a team-high 17 points with four assists to lead TNT while rookie Mikey Williams added 14 points, five assists, and two blocks.
Kelly Williams finished with 13 points, 15 rebounds, and two steals, and three blocks to control the paint for the Tropang Giga while frontcourt partner Troy Rosario added 11 points and grabbed eight boards.
Abueva had a game-high 23 points for Magnolia.