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Tiebreaker Times


PBA: RHJ, Mikey Williams a two-man show for TNT, rout Meralco for 2-1 lead

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson submitted his best performance of the conference to date to power TNT’s 99-80 blasting of Meralco to move a win away from the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, Wednesday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The former NBA cager erupted for 40 points on 51-percent shooting, alongside 13 rebounds, a pair of assists, and a steal as the Tropang Giga denied their foes of repeating after coming away with an OT win the last time out.

What happened in the second game was we threw away all our defensive technique,” offered head coach Jojo Lastimosa. “We gave so many, many drives to the basket and you could see tonight, it was more of a defensive game.”

But it wasn’t just the veteran winger alone who made the blowout possible as he conspired with Mikey Williams, who finished with 29 points — tying his conference-high — spiked by six triples, together with three dimes.

It was actually a two-man show courtesy of the two right from the get-go as they combined for 23 points to steer their side to a 30-16 lead, setting the tone for what would become a lopsided affair in their favor all the way.

“I definitely wanted to be more assertive in the third and the fourth. I know last game I wasn’t assertive in the third and I went gun shy in the fourth,” said Williams, who scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter this time.

Game 4 of the best-of-5 semis is on Friday at the Big Dome at 5:45 p.m., with the flagship MVP Group franchise looking to finish it off and forge a showdown with Ginebra for the championship beginning on Easter Sunday.

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Lastimosa, however, warned that closeout games are always the toughest to figure into, speaking of course from experience.

“I’ve been in a situation where I played, I’ve been in a situation where I was an assistant coach, and the closeout game is always hard. We always talk about that,” said the cage legend, a winner of 10 PBA titles.

“There’s just a different feel when you’re trying to close out a game because we know that the other team is also desperate. At the same time, we don’t want to force the issue if you want to close out a game. Let’s see how it goes,” he added.

KJ McDaniels, on the other hand, led Meralco with 30 points and 10 rebounds in the loss that put the ball club on the brink of elimination.

The Bolts actually showed some fight in the fourth when they got to within just 12 from being down by as much as 26 early, but Hollis-Jefferson and Co. refused to let their opponents get any closer with a corresponding 10-2 run.

The Scores:

TNT 99 – Hollis-Jefferson 40, M.Williams 29, Pogoy 7, Castro 7, Oftana 4, Erram 4, Khobuntin 3, Montalbo 3, Chua 2, Varilla 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.

Meralco 80 – McDaniels 30, Newsome 12, Black 11, Hodge 11, Maliksi 4, Almazan 3, Caram 3, Pasaol 3, Jose 2, Quinto 1, Banchero 0, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 30-15, 56-30, 75-59, 99-80

Written By

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

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