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PBA: Khobuntin spark, Rondae triple-double propel TNT back to semis

Glenn Khobuntin came through with a career-high outing as TNT showed Phoenix Super LPG the door, 132-105, for a quick trip to the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The seasoned bruiser scored nine of his 19 points in the third quarter, all of which came from beyond the arc as he helped power the breakaway that enabled the Tropang Giga to maximize their win-once quarterfinal incentive.

Khobuntin shot 58-percent from the field, including a 5-of-10 clip from deep, together with four rebounds and two assists without a turnover.

“Siguro nagbunga na yung sinabi ko kay Glenn sa practice yesterday na don’t think too much about your offense. Your offense is going to be there. If you’re wide open, just shoot it,” said head coach Jojo Lastimosa.

“It’s your defense. Just getting the pressure off Glenn in terms of offense, I’m sure it helped him,” the cage legend added.

Roger Pogoy top-scored for TNT with 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting, alongside 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and a block for a full line. Main man Jayson Castro punched in 20 points off the bench.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with a triple-double of 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Calvin Oftana made 15 points and seven boards while Mikey Williams added 14 as six players finished in double figures.

Back for a deep playoff run after that dismal Commissioner’s Cup, the flagship MVP franchise will now wait for the winner between Meralco and Magnolia for its opponent in the best-of-5 semis, which will tip off later this week.

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TNT, however, may have to finish the season without Kelly Williams as he’s feared to have pulled a calf. The 41-year-old former MVP went down in pain with 33 seconds left in the first quarter and never came back into the match.

But the Tropa welcomed back Poy Erram into the fold as the 6-foot-8 center returned after months away following a knee procedure. He played for a little over five minutes and finished with six points and three rebounds.

“Chot pushed for him in the last five minutes, ‘Subukan mo na si Poy because we might need him down in the playoffs,’ because now knowing Kelly, he might have a season-ending injury. Poy is needed there,” Lastimosa said.

Du’Vaughn Maxwell, meanwhile, led the Fuel Masters with 23 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat that marked a second straight quarters exit.

Jason Perkins made 21 points and six rebounds, while Javee Mocon added 15 markers, five boards, and four dimes for the eighth-seed, who actually led by as much as seven early in the game only to collapse.

The Scores:

TNT 132 – Pogoy 25, Castro 20, Khobuntin 19, Hollis-Jefferson 18, Oftana 15, M.Williams 14, Chua 6, Erram 6, Montalbo 3, Marcelo 2, K.Williams 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Varilla 0, Tungcab 0.

Phoenix Super LPG 105 – Maxwell 23, Perkins 21, Mocon 15, Serrano 9, Jazul 8, Manganti 8, Tio 7, Muyang 5, Soyud 3, Lojera 3, Alejandro 3, Garcia 0, Camacho 0, Adamos 0, Go 0.

Quarterscores: 38-41, 66-64, 100-83, 132-105

Written By

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

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