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Tiebreaker Times


PBA: Pogoy delivers in return as TNT catches last ride bus to playoffs

With some of its key cogs now back, TNT used a big second half to obliterate Phoenix Super LPG, 116-96, and complete the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup playoff picture, Sunday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The Tropang Giga overcame a 53-51 halftime deficit with a 37-point explosion in the third quarter.

They then broke the game wide open in the closing chapter on their way to securing the eighth and final ticket to the quarterfinals.

Coach Jojo Lastimosa’s wards have forged a showdown with the top-seeded Magnolia on Wednesday, January 17, 8:00 PM, also at Philsports.

They will need to win two in a row to make it to the semifinals of the import-laced tourney.

Their win, furthermore, ended the playoff hopes of sister team NLEX, who needed TNT to lose to forge a dispute for the no. 8 spot.

“It’s something that we have to earn,” said Lastimosa postgame. “We know that we’ve been struggling and it’s not something that we’re avoiding. It’s just the fact of life that we’re struggling in this conference.”

“Guys were getting hurt, tapos si Rondae nawala pa, nagpalit kami [ng import] in the middle. But we’re hoping that we can fix our problems defensively going into the quarterfinals against Magnolia,” added the cage legend.

Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson was at the forefront of TNT’s attack once more as he finished with 35 points, nine rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, and a block.

Calvin Oftana produced 18 points. Rookie Kim Aurin registered a conference-high 18 points, while Brian Heruela added 14 markers in the victory.

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The game also served as a fitting welcome to the returning Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro.

Out for five months following a myocarditis diagnosis, the two-way specialist made 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting from deep.

He also had three rebounds, three assists, and two steals in the 20 minutes and 19 seconds he played off the bench.

“We’re just happy to see him play again. For a while there, akala namin si Roger matatagalan siya. The first prognosis was six months, he’s gonna be out. But he’s back in three months, and that’s great news for all of us,” said Lastimosa.

Johnathan Williams, on the other hand, had 21 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists for Phoenix, who will head into the quarters as the fourth seed.

JJay Alejandro scored 12 points, while Tyler Tio and Sean Manganti added 10 apiece.

The Fuel Masters (8-3) will face no. 5 Meralco (8-3) on Wednesday as well, looking to put their win-once playoff incentive into good use.

The Scores:

TNT 116 – Hollis-Jefferson 35, Oftana 19, Aurin 18, Heruela 14, Pogoy 11, Galinato 6, K. Williams 4, castro 3, Tungcab 3, Montalbo 3, Cruz 0, Tolomia 0, Khobuntin 0, Ponferrada 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.

Phoenix Super LPG 96 – J.Williams 21, Alejandro 12, Tio 10, Manganti 10, Perkins 9, Rivero 7, Soyud 6, Jazul 5, Daves 4, Mocon 4, Tuffin 4, Verano 3, Muyang 1, Camacho 0, Lalata 0, Garcia 0.

Quarterscores: 23-27, 51-53, 88-78, 116-96.

Written By

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

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