Roger Pogoy proved to be the difference as TNT came from behind to upend Ginebra, 114-105, to finish as the no. 1 seed at the end of the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations, Friday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The two-way specialist finished with 22 points, including 10 in the final frame that saw him score seven consecutive points that gave his side a 110-104 lead with 2:25 left to play before Calvin Oftana and Mikey Williams closed it out.
Coach Jojo Lastimosa’s wards completed the fightback from as much as 14 down and concluded the preliminaries with an impressive 10-1 card — their best record since the 2021 Philippine Cup (10-1) where they eventually won it all.
“He (Pogoy) can make those shots. Jayson can make those shots. Tonight was Roger. But it’s not only the making of shots, but it’s actually making the plays on the defensive side before we get that ball back,” said Lastimosa.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson top-scored for TNT with 34 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and four steals as he helped Pogoy and Oftana in the 16-1 blitz for the 100-99 lead in a run that swung the momentum in their favor.
“The guys are coming around and Rondae, he’s beginning to figure out how to play with the guys,” said Lastimosa.
Williams dropped 25 points and six assists while Oftana and Jayson Castro supplied 12 markers apiece for the Tropa, who will try to use its win-once incentive against the 8-seed Phoenix in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“I was prepared for all scenarios, to go down to No. 2, to No. 3. For me right now, we cannot pick who we want to play, so whoever is given to us, either No. 6, 7, or 8, it doesn’t really matter,” Lastimosa offered.
By locking the top seed, TNT brought down the reigning champions (8-3) all the way to no. 3, which set the latter up against the no. 6 NLEX on Sunday.
The Kings were led by the 27 points of Justin Brownlee, who didn’t have the best of nights as he shot 11-of-27 from the field although he still ended up with a double-double after hauling down 10 rebounds.
Christian Standhardinger supplied 19 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. Scottie Thompson also had 19 alongside 10 and six, while Jamie Malonzo made 15 in the loss that snapped the Barangay’s five-game winning streak.
TNT 114 – Hollis-Jefferson 34, M.Williams 25, Pogoy 22, Oftana 12, Castro 12, K.Williams 5, Chua 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Montalbo 0, Varilla 0, Khobuntin 0.
Ginebra 105 – Brownlee 27, Standhardinger 19, Thompson 19, Malonzo 15, Pringle 10, Gray 5, Pessumal 3, David 3, Onwubere 2, Dillinger 2, Pinto 0, Mariano 0.
Quarterscores: 23-27, 47-56, 82-93, 114-105.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.