PBA: TNT easily handles Meralco, moves on verge of Finals
MANILA, Philippines-TNT moved one win from arranging a title showdown with Barangay Ginebra after cruising to a 99-80 win over Meralco in their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson produced 40 points for his best output in his PBA stint while adding 13 rebounds as the Tropang Giga gained a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five series by bouncing back from a tough overtime loss in Game 2 last Sunday.
Mikey Williams fired 29 points to give TNT two chances to secure a place in the league’s grandest stage against Ginebra, which earlier swept San Miguel Beer in the other semis pairing.
The Tropang Giga for the clincher on Wednesday at the same venue.
Game 5, if necessary, will be played at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Import KJ McDaniels produced 30 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in another strong showing but the Bolts were out of sync three days after tying the series.
Like in Game 1, TNT took command right from the onset as Hollis-Jefferson and Williams combined for 23 to put their team up 30-15 at the end of the opening period,
TNT stretched the gap in the second and went to the locker room ahead 56-30 at the break, but had to see Meralco create a mini-rally in the second half.
McDaniels and Aaron Black helped Meralco trim the gap to 12 early in the fourth, 78-66. However, the Bolts didn’t find enough power to get closer at TNT.
A three by Williams eventually sent the Tropang Giga ahead 88-68 with less than five minutes to go in the contest.
Game 2 heroes Black and Cliff Hodge scored 11 points each, the former grabbing 11 rebounds while Chris Newsome had a 12-point showing on 6-of-12 from the field with five rebounds and five assists.
TNT 99—Hollis-Jefferson 40, Williams M. 29, Pogoy 7, Castro 7, Oftana 4, Erram 4, Khobuntin 3, Montalbo 3, Chua 2, Varilla 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
MERALCO 80—McDaniels 30, Newsome 12, Black 11, Hodge 11, Maliksi 4, Almazan 3, Caram 3, Pasaol 3, Jose 2, Quinto 1, Banchero 0, Pascual 0.
Quarters: 30-15, 56-30, 75-59, 99-80.