PBA: TNT sets up finals showdown vs Ginebra, ousts Meralco
MANILA, Philippines–TNT played with poise all of Friday night to hold off Meralco, 107-92, and punch a ticket to the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was the cutting edge of the Tropang Giga’s attack, putting up a PBA-high of 42 points that went with 10 rebounds in another impressive outing while observing Ramadan fasting.
Mikey Williams converted a four-point play in the final 1:43 of the contest that sealed TNT’s trip to a championship duel against defending champion Barangay Ginebra.
“The guys answered the call. We knew that someone was due outside of Mikey. That guy was Calvin (Oftana) tonight,” said interim coach Jojo Lastimosa, who drew 21 points from the versatile forward.
WATCH: Jubilant TNT players and coaches celebrate their semifinal series clincher over Meralco that arranged a PBA Governors’ Cup Finals meeting with Barangay Ginebra. #PBAFinals | @jonasterradoINQ pic.twitter.com/fKYWlLo8Xw
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) March 31, 2023
Williams finished with 17 points, while Roger Pogoy 16 as TNT girds for a compelling clash that will pit the conference’s top seeds against the very club that has dominated the tournament four times in the last five seasons.
The championship series begins this Easter Sunday also at the Big Dome.
“Going into this series, I like my chances. Our players are playing well. And we’ve been winning our [elimination] games with scoring. And right now, we’re playing defense really well,” Lastimosa said.
“We’re here to try and spoil the party. We got Rondae on our side so I’m OK with (that),” he added
Import KJ McDaniels led the way for Meralco with 37 points and 12 rebounds, while Aaron Black chipped in 19 more. Chris Banchero and Chris Newsome scored 11 each as the Bolts missed a chance to again tangle with its old tormentor.