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Tiebreaker Times


PBA: Jayson Castro takes charge as TNT scores come-from-behind win vs Alaska

Jayson Castro took over as TNT rallied to beat Alaska, 81-77, for its first win in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup, Friday at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The 35-year-old scored all of his 20 points in the second half, half of which he manufactured in the final period. He spearheaded and completed the Tropang Giga’s fightback after playing catch-up for the majority of the match.

“You see the whole conference last year, the first game this conference, we didn’t even start Jayson. We really manage his minutes. Same thing with Kelly, we don’t like them to play heavy minutes,” said coach Chot Reyes.

“But I know the work that they put in practice, the work that they put in the weights gym and in our cardio conditioning. I know in a pinch pag kailangan, mayroon pa namang ibubuga,” he furthered.

TNT even fell down by 10 in the third canto but the ‘Blur’ started the retaliation. He eventually tied the game at 62-all heading into the fourth.

The 13-year veteran then turned it up a notch in the payoff period. Making sure that Glenn Khobuntin’s tie-breaking bucket won’t get wasted, he made a big stop by stripping the ball away from Olu Ashaolu to get the possession back.

And it eventually led to a booming trifecta of his, which widened their lead to five points, 80-75, with 2:34 remaining.

That then spelled doom for the opposition afterwards. Ashaolu made it a three-point game following a lay-up with less than a minute to go, but Robbie Herndon air-balled the potential game-tying triple with 13.2 seconds left.

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Castro went on to seal the victory with his split from the foul line with 7.4 seconds left as TNT broke through after losing to NLEX last Wednesday.

The seven-time champion turning in a vintage outing came at a time when import McKenzie Moore and Mikey Williams were far from the usual.

Moore only produced 13 points, four rebounds, and two assists in nearly 27 minutes as he’s been playing through a knee injury, said Reyes. Williams, meanwhile, finished with 12 markers on 5-of-13 shooting from the field.

“Tyinaga-tiyaga lang namin, we just found ways. Jayson took over. Mac had difficulty scoring, Mikey couldn’t make shots, so Jayson had to take over,” said Reyes as Castro also added six dimes and five boards.

TNT went all-Filipino in the endgame and part of it was Khobuntin, who finished with 16 markers. He’s been stepping up in lieu of Troy Rosario, who’s still recovering from the injuries he had in the Philippine Cup Finals.

“And it’s a good thing Glenn is playing really well. I thought he played well also in the last game even if we lost. Hopefully, they can cover what we’re missing with Troy,” said Reyes, as Khobuntin had nine against the Road Warriors.

The Tropang Giga will now aim to continue their winning ways against Meralco on Wednesday, December 22, at 6:00 p.m.

Meanwhile, Ashaolu had 29 points and 18 rebounds to lead Alaska in the loss that looked similar to its meltdown versus Ginebra last Sunday.

Jeron Teng was the only other double-digit scorer with 13 points for the Aces, who have now lost twice in a row after a 2-0 start into the conference.

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They will now look to snap out of their funk opposite the struggling Blackwater also on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.

The Scores:

TNT 81 – Castro 20, Khobuntin 16, Moore 13, M. Williams 12, K. Williams 6, Erram 6, Banal 5, Marcelo 2, Pogoy 1, Heruela 0, Reyes 0, Alejandro 0.

Alaska 77 – Ashaolu 29, Teng 13, Brondial 9, Herndon 7, Digregorio 7, Tratter 6, Ahanmisi 5, Tolomia 1, Taha 0.

Quarterscores: 9-15, 30-35, 62-62, 81-77.

Written By

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

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