TNT took full advantage of its win-once incentive by showing Converge the door through a 116-95 decimation to book the first flight to the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Mikey Williams powered the Tropang Giga with 26 points, 24 of which he made in the first half alone to steer his side to a commanding 70-42 lead at the break as he dazzled a day after signing a new three-year deal with the club.
“I’m glad that the weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said the reigning scoring king, who shot 53.8-percent from the floor.
“I think as a whole, we can move forward and continue to play basketball,” furthered the fourth overall selection of last year’s Rookie Draft.
Troy Rosario had 18 points and seven rebounds. Roger Pogoy made 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists; Jayson Castro supplied 15 points, while Kelly Williams added 10 as five players scored in twin digits in the win.
The Tropa led by as many as 33, 116-83, in the victory but head coach Chot Reyes is still far from satisfied even with the dominant outing.
He noted, in particular, the 19 turnovers his charges committed and the second chances they gave the opposition, which all should be ironed out heading into the best-of-seven semis against either Magnolia or NLEX.
The Hotshots are leading the Road Warriors 1-0, and could close the best-of-three series on Friday, 6 p.m. at the FilOIl EcoOil Centre.
“That’s one definite area we have to improve on. Number two we gave up nine offensive rebounds in the first half. Whoever we are playing in the semifinals is going to be a very strong rebounding team so we need to do a better job,” said Reyes.
Tyrus Hill, meanwhile, led the FiberXers with 18 points in the crushing defeat that put an end to the new franchise’s run in the first conference.
Mike DiGregorio backed him up with 14 points. David Murrell made 11 points, while the duo of Abu Tratter and Maverick Ahanmisi added 10 each.
Converge was far from the team that gave TNT the fits back in the elimination round last June 12, where they lost by three points, 86-83, after overcoming a sluggish start to take a two-point lead briefly late in that match.
TNT 116 – M.Williams 26, Rosario 18, Pogoy 16, Castro 15, K.Williams 10, Montalbo 9, Erram 7, Tungcab 5, Banal 5, Khobuntin 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Marcelo 0, Alejandro 0, Cruz 0.
Converge 95 – Hill 18, DiGregorio 15, Murrell 11, Tratter 10, Ahanmisi 10, Arana 8, Racal 5, Tolomia 5, Adamos 4, Stockton 3, Ambohot 3, Ilagan 2, Bulanadi 2, Browne 0.
Quarterscores: 30-20, 70-42, 97-67, 116-95
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.