TNT ended Barangay Ginebra’s title reign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a 103-92 win in Game Four of their best-of-five semifinals for the right to advance to the championship round, Thursday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Terrence Jones once again led TNT’s attack, churning out an all-time franchise record fifth triple-double — the most in the last 26 years since Kenny Redfield had six in 1993 with Pepsi — with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Troy Rosario supplied 22 points and 11 rebounds. Jayson Castro produced 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists, while Roger Pogoy chimed in 14 markers as the starters did the heavy lifting for the KaTropa in the victory.
“Obviously, we’re really happy,” said the KaTropa active consultant Mark Dickel, who has been with the flagship MVP franchise since September 2018. “You never really quite know you’re gonna win until you actually win.”
TNT got its bearing in the second half after finishing the first down four, 58-62. Down by a point with 4:01 to go in the third quarter, the trio of Jones, Pogoy, and Brian Heruela made a 10-0 blast for an 84-75 lead with two minutes to go.
The KaTropa would then pull away late in the final frame, unloading a 13-2 scoring blitz to turn a six-point lead to a wide 103-86 edge with 2:41 left in the game, as they cruised all the way to their first Finals trip after five long conferences.
“Yea. It was a team effort. We really fought in the second half and came together defensively that made it easier for us offensively. A lot of guys stepped up tonight,” lauded Jones, who’s the favorite to win the Best Import honors.
This trip to the Big Dance is so sweet for TNT after not being able to reach the semis in the last four conferences.
Reigning Best Import Justin Brownlee led the erstwhile defending champions with a near-triple-double, finishing with 27 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Japeth Aguilar poured 27 markers and nine caroms as well.
Stanley Pringle had 18 points, nine rebounds, and four assists as Joe Devance added 13 in the defeat.
TNT will now wait for the winner between Rain or Shine and San Miguel for their foes in the Finals, which could either start this Sunday or Wednesday depending on Game Four of their series this Friday. The Beermen are up 2-1.
TNT 103 – Jones 24, Rosario 22, Castro 20, Pogoy 14, Heruela 9, Reyes 6, Trollano 6, Taha 2, Washington 0.
Ginebra 92 – Brownlee 27, Aguilar 27, Pringle 15, Devance 13, Tenorio 5, Thompson 3, Caguioa 2, Slaughter 0.
Quarterscores: 32-32, 58-62, 86-79, 103-92
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