Williams shoots 36 as TNT whips NLEX; Rain or Shine pips Magnolia
Dragged into a tight first two quarters, TNT pulled out all the stops in the third and clobbered NLEX, 100-85, in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday and empathically moved on from a “good-ole ass-kicking” it absorbed just two nights ago.
The Tropang Giga notched their seventh win in eight games by riding the hot hands of shifty Fil-Am guard Mikey Williams, who finished with 36 points—the finest performance from a rookie since Ray Parks Jr.’s 39 for Blackwater back in 2019.
“It’s just we took advantage of everything that we worked on every day and that’s just the flow of our offense: the drive and kicks, backdoors [and the] ball movement,” said Williams, the fourth pick overall in the rookie draft. “My teammates really found a way to give me some holes to get through in. We just worked as a team, to get the W.”
Four others tossed in 10 points or more for TNT at Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga, where the Tropang Giga wore down the Road Warriors before delivering the gut punch.
“We knew they came from a double overtime game and we thought if we could stay with them eventually our pace would wear them down,” TNT coach Chot Reyes said of NLEX, which his charges sank to a 4-4 slate. “They really gave us a lot of problems in the first half but I think in the second half, our activity and the pace just wore them down.”
“That double overtime game two days ago [took its toll] on them in the second half. I think, more than anything, that’s what happened,” Reyes added.
The Road Warriors enjoyed a balanced attack, led by Kevin Alas’ 16 points.
All but one of Yeng Guiao’s wards managed to score. But that collective effort was simply no match for Williams’ marksmanship, as he spurred that third-quarter breakaway by TNT, which rebounded mightily after getting whipped by San Miguel Beer, 83-67.
“It was a good ole ass-kicking that we got from San Miguel the last game,” Reyes said.
San Miguel followed up that win by trimming Barangay Ginebra, 111-102, in another Friday game.
The Beermen improved to a 5-2 record tying Meralco at the second spot while the Gin Kings slid to a 3-4 card.Meanwhile, Rain or Shine survived hard-fighting Magnolia to carve out a 75-72 victory, snapping a two-game skid.
Javee Mocon topscored with 19 points, while James Yap and rookie Santi Santillan each added 14 more to help the Elasto Painters to a 5-4 record.
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