ANTIPOLO – Rondae Holis-Jefferson submitted yet another triple-double to banner TNT’s mighty showing against Meralco, 110-80, to draw first blood in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals, Friday night at the Ynares Center here.
The former NBA cager finished with team-highs of 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists, along with two steals and two blocks as he ignited the Tropang Giga’s 31-19 start to be in control of the match all the way to the end.
He turned in the statistical feat two nights after producing 18-12-10 in their quarterfinal win versus Phoenix Super LPG, becoming the first import since Justin Brownlee in 2019 to collect triple-doubles in consecutive games.
Hollis-Jefferson only needed three quarters to do so but he didn’t play the entirety of the final frame after hurting his groin.
TNT is also worried about Calvin Oftana, who was subbed out with 5:57 left to play due to a sprain. He left with 15 points and nine rebounds.
“I think he’s [Hollis-Jefferson] fine. I’m [also] concerned about Calvin. Na-tweak na naman niya ‘yung ankle niya … I’m hoping na it’s not something that can keep you out of the game,” said head coach Jojo Lastimosa.
Nonetheless, the Tropa have gained the early lead in the best-of-5 series, but it is by no means enough reason for the chief mentor to allow even a bit of complacency to seep into his wards heading into Game 2 on Sunday.
“First game for them is nothing new. They’ve lost the first game before, and won three straight over TNT. It’s not something that he hasn’t done before,” said Lastimosa, referring to Bolts counterpart Norman Black.
Roger Pogoy continued his solid play with 21 points in the win that saw TNT lead by as many as 33 points. Mikey Williams had 14 points, three rebounds, and five assists while Jayson Castro chipped in 12 off the bench.
TNT managed to come out with the lopsided win despite missing Kelly Williams, who got hurt in the quarterfinals versus Phoenix last Wednesday.
The 41-year-old center still joined his team, though, and witnessed from the sidelines the Tropang Giga’s superb showing on both ends.
KJ McDaniels only had 12 points and 14 rebounds to lead Meralco. Bong Quinto made 11 points as he tried to step it up on a night Chris Newsome was limited to 10 markers after dropping 33 in the quarters versus Magnolia.
TNT 110 – Hollis-Jefferson 22, Pogoy 21, Oftana 15, M.Williams 14, Castro 12, Khobuntin 7, Tungcab 6, Montalbo 5, Chua 4, Erram 4, Acuno 0, Cruz 0, Varilla 0, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Meralco 80 – McDaniels 12, Quinto 11, Newsome 10, Almazan 10, Hodge 9, Jose 9, Black 7, Dario 5, Johnson 3, Hugnatan 2, Maliksi 2, Banchero 0, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Rios 0, Pascual 0.
Quarterscores: 31-19, 57-45, 92-66, 11-80
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.