TNT outlasted NorthPort in overtime, 106-101, to complete the Top Four cast in the 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup, Friday night at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Mikey Williams hit crucial three-pointers early in the extra period, while Roger Pogoy and Ryan Reyes connived to apply the finishing touches as they averted disaster after blowing a 53-35 lead late in the first half.
The flagship MVP Group franchise racked up their fifth consecutive victory to conclude the elimination round with a 7-4 record.
TNT will head into the quarterfinals as the third seed armed with a twice-to-beat edge, which it could maximize versus reigning kings Ginebra.
“I think it prepares us for the tougher games ahead, especially in our next game as we enter the playoffs,” said head coach Chot Reyes postgame. “We know that the games ahead are going to be similar to this.”
Williams finished with 28 points on four triples, a pair of which he made to power TNT’s 10-0 start in OT for a 100-90 lead with 3:04 left. He also racked up seven assists, four rebounds, and a couple of steals.
Aaron Fuller made 15 points and 20 rebounds. The American import was the one responsible for sending the game into overtime as he only managed to split his free throws off a Jamie Malonzo foul with 47.5 ticks left in regulation.
Jayson Castro had 15 as well, although he was not able to finish the game after being fouled out with 1:40 left in the fourth. That foul led to Robert Bolick giving the Batang Pier a 90-89 lead after losing a four-point edge.
Pogoy added 11 markers, including the lay-up off of a Reyes assist with exactly a minute left in the game that gave the Tropa a 104-99 cushion after allowing the opposition to knock within just three points.
“Fortunately we were able to hang on … Luckily, we were able to hack out the win,” expressed the champion bench tactician.
Import Jamel Artis led NorthPort with 39 points in 53 minutes, 15 of which he made in the third chapter as he gave his side the 73-72 lead at the end. He also collected 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Robert Bolick had 22 points, while Arwind Santos made 16 points and nine rebounds. Malonzo chipped in 13 markers and 15 boards.
The Batang Pier actually had an opportunity to tie the game when they were just down 101-104, but Malonzo got called for a travel when he jumped for a shot from deep but landed with the ball in his hand and passed it out.
That crucial turnover by the rookie, seconds later, led to Reyes calmly sinking both of his charities to settle the final count.
NorthPort saw the end of its five-game streak and finished the eliminations at 5-6. It will have to fight Phoenix (5-6) on Sunday for the no. 8 seed.
TNT 106 – M.Williams 28, Castro 15, Fuller 15, Pogoy 11, K.Williams 10, Rosario 6, Erram 6, Montalbo 5, Khobuntin 5, Reyes 5, Heruela 0.
NorthPort 101 – Artis 39, Bolick 22, Santos 16, Malonzo 13, Balanza 6, Taha 3, Ferrer 2, Rike 0.
Quarterscores: 29-14, 54-39, 72-73, 90-90, 106-101.
The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.