TNT punched a ticket to the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs following its 127-107 conquest of Terrafirma, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Giga quickly asserted control of the match before pulling away in the third quarter for good on the way to the berth-clinching victory, which kept their Top Four aspirations very much alive as well.
Now carrying a 6-4 record, the flagship MVP Group franchise has gained a share of the fourth spot with sister team Meralco in the standings.
TNT will look to better its chances of securing the coveted twice-to-beat advantage for the next round with a victory against the streaking NorthPort (5-5) on Friday at 6:00 p.m. in the final game of the elimination round.
“We can’t rest until we get the final W on Friday,” said head coach Chot Reyes. “We said our objective was to get to seven wins, but the only way to get into seven was to get No. 6 first. So our focus for tonight was to get No. 6.”
Aaron Fuller led the Tropa with 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting and 12 rebounds, together with three steals and three blocks without a turnover.
Mikey Williams poured 16 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Jayson Castro supplied 15 points and six dimes as well, while Poy Erram and Kib Montalbo chipped in 12 markers apiece in the victory.
Erram joined hands with Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin in that 12-2 run en route to a 90-71 advantage in the third chapter. They would never look back since as they went on to collect their fourth win in a row.
“I think what we have is we’re having a complete lineup, finally … Now pa lang kami nabubuo,” said Reyes of his team’s winning streak.
Antonio Hester led Terrafirma with 30 points and 13 rebounds as the already-eliminated team failed to finish the season strong.
Ed Daquioag made 19 points, while Joshua Munzon added 16 markers, six assists, and three rebounds as the Dyip ended their campaign at 2-9.
Terrafirma missed the services of Juami Tiongson reportedly due to an ankle injury. Also out was Joseph Gabayni, who is serving a two-week suspension without pay after he was caught playing in an unsanctioned league.
TNT 127 – Fuller 24, M. Williams 16, Castro 15, Montalbo 12, Erram 12, Rosario 9, Pogoy 8, K. Williams 8, Reyes 7, Khobuntin 7, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Marcelo 3, Cruz 0, Heruela 0, Alejandro 0, Banal 0.
Terrafirma 107 – Hester 30, Daquioag 19, Munzon 16, Batiller 9, Calvo 9, Cahilig 8, Go 5, Pascual 4, Ramos 4, Balagasay 3, Camson 0.
Quarterscores: 30-23, 61-53, 90-77, 127-107.
The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.