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PBA: Castro nails clutch trey, lifts TNT to 2-1 lead over Magnolia


Jayson Castro came to the rescue just like the old times as TNT survived Magnolia, 93-92, to regain the upper hand in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Sunday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The veteran guard hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 2,4 seconds left as the Tropang Giga managed to come out triumphant even after losing a lead and committing unlikely errors inside the game’s final minutes.

Castro finished with 16 points on two treys and six assists as the reigning champs bounced back from Friday’s loss en route to the 2-1 series lead.

“We spoke briefly about our defense, but we focused on our offense, what we were going to do after. Because whatever happens, whether Magnolia scored or not, we had to score,” said coach Chot Reyes of the final play.

“That was ran exactly the way we wanted it. Quick inbound to Jayson, and then the bigs giving him a screen, looking for opportunities, and our shooters filling the corners. It turned out to be a good play because Jayson made the shot.”

Poy Erram top-scored for TNT with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Mikey Williams made 15 points and a conference-high 10 assists.

Williams actually committed a blunder rarely seen from the reigning scoring king when he blew a wide-open lay-up with a minute left, which later on led to a Mark Barroca basket that tied the game up at 90-all with 47.7 seconds to go.

Erram tried to give the lead back to the Tropa with a triple moments later but missed as well, and Barroca made them pay dearly for their sloppy play by nailing a tough shot that put Magnolia ahead, 92-90, with 9.8 to play.

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TNT had no timeouts left but Castro came to save the day, taking down the ball by his lonesome before pulling up from deep for the money shot.

“That’s why we love this game. Ito ‘yung sinasabi nating, talo na, nanalo pa, pero natalo na, tas nanalo pa. So, again, in the end, two evenly-matched teams, equally desiring to win fight it out,” Reyes said.

“In the end, it comes down to who will make that shot. Fortunately for us, tonight it was us,” the six-time Coach of the Year added.

Glenn Khobuntin supplied 15 points in the win as he bounced back from a scoreless outing in Game Two a couple of nights afo — that, after scoring 18 off the bench in their 108-96 victory in the semis opener last Wednesday.

“Through moments in the game when we were down … we just kept our poise and kept telling our players to stay in the game and stay within what we do. Just waiting for an opportunity. I think that helped us in the end,” said Reyes.

Magnolia, meanwhile, was led by Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang with 18 and 17 points, respectively, although it did not have the two stars in the endgame as they fouled out inside the match’s final minutes.

Barroca finished with 15 points and five assists in the stinging defeat, where the Hotshots failed to sustain a 29-19 lead they built in the second period.

The Scores:

TNT 93 -Erram 22, M.Williams 15, Castro 16, Khobuntin 15, Rosario 8, Pogoy 7, K.Williams 7, Montalbo 3, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.

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Magnolia 92 –Abueva 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 15, Dionisio 10, Dela Rosa 9, Lee 9, Wong 6, Jalalon 4, Corpuz 2, Laput 2, Escoto 0.

Quarterscores: 18-24, 47-41, 66-73, 93-92

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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