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TNT ends SMC’s five-year PBA reign, rules PH Cup

Glory, at last.

TNT has finally quenched its years-long thirst for a championship as it emerged as the new king of the PBA Philippine Cup through a masterful conquest of Magnolia, 94-79, in the Finals’ Game Five, Friday night at the DHVSU Gym.

The Tropang Giga have won their first title in six years, or since ruling the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup at the expense of Rain or Shine. This is also their first all-Filipino crown since 2013, where they beat, coincidentally, the Elasto Painters.

More importantly, though, the flagship MVP Group franchise has ended San Miguel Corporation’s dominance in the league — the three SMC clubs have won the last 11 PBA championships in a run that began half a decade ago.

This golden run also marked a successful comeback for Chot Reyes, who was reappointed as TNT’s head coach back in February in lieu of Mark Dickel and Bong Ravena. This was his conference after nine long years away.

“It’s been a long journey, but I’m very very proud with how the guys behind me played,” said the champion mentor, who now has nine titles.

Mikey Williams led the Tropa with 24 points, four rebounds, and four rebounds on his way to earning Finals Most Valuable Player honors, becoming the third rookie next to Danny Seigle and Brandon Cablay to win the award.

“I feel like this is just a surreal moment for all of us. We definitely put the work in. We definitely put the time in. It’s been a long season. It’s been really challenging for everybody. We’re all just really blessed to be in this moment,” he said.

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Roger Pogoy produced 19 points, together with three rebounds, three steals, and two assists. The long-time face of the franchise Jayson Castro supplied 10 markers off the bench as he earned his seventh championship.

“I have to give this really to the players. They really put in the effort, they stayed together through adversity,” Reyes said.

TNT actually trailed by a field goal in the first quarter, but responded with 11 consecutive points to take a 21-12 lead with 24 seconds left.

It then began to take control of the match in the following frame. With Williams steering the wheel behind his playmaking and scoring abilities, the Tropang Giga zoomed to a 38-20 advantage with 5:30 remaining.

The Hotshots still tried to fight back but the Texters simply proved to be too much to overcome. The latter even led by as many as 25 points, 88-63, following Pogoy’s three-point play with less than six minutes to play.

“This is just a great reward for all their hardships,” said Reyes, who last won a PBA title in 2012 before leaving that same year for Gilas Pilipinas.

Ian Sangalang led Magnolia with 18 points and nine rebounds in the loss that marked another failed bid to win the Philippine Cup.

Best Player of the Conference Calvin Abueva had 14 points and seven boards.

Rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi made 11 points spiked by three triples, and Mark Barroca added 10 markers, six assists, and five caroms.

Paul Lee was held to seven points on 3-of-11 shooting in nearly 33 minutes, though he collected five rebounds and five assists.

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The Hotshots have yet to win a championship since the 2018 Governors’ Cup, where they beat Alaska in six games for their 14th overall title.

The Scores:

TNT 94 – M. Williams 24, Pogoy 19, Catsro 10,Reyes 9, Rosario 9, Khobuntin 8, Erram 7, Montalbo 7, K. Williams 1, Exciminiano 0, Heruela 0, Alejandro 0, Marcelo 0, Javier 0, Mendoza 0.

Magnolia 79 – Sangalang 18, Abueva 14, Ahanmisi 11, Barroca 10, Lee 7, Dela Rosa 5, Dionisio 5, Reavis 4, Pascual 4, Jalalon 1, Brill 0, Corpuz 0, Melton 0, De Leon 0, Capobres 0.

Quarterscores: 21-14, 47-33, 72-53, 94-79.

Written By

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

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