Following a closely-contested first half, the TNT KaTropa broke loose and found their stride in the second half en route to a blistering 113-95 Game One victory against the Meralco Bolts in their semis opener at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday evening.
Five TNT players tallied double-figures, led by Asian import Michael Madanly, who put up a sizzling 22-point performance – including four triples, and four assists off the bench. Troy Rosario added 16 points, while Michael Ammons established 15 points and 11 rebounds in an all-around team effort for TNT.
Coming from a 42-point performance during their quarterfinal game versus Phoenix, Jayson Castro started off cold in a 1/11 shooting in the first half. The Bolts were able to keep in step with TNT in the first half, but Troy Rosario’s perimeter sniping paced TNT to a two-point halftime lead.
Then came the one-sided third quarter that went entirely in favor of the top-seeded KaTropa. Despite shooting poorly, Castro made strides from the foul stripe and dishing assists to his teammates.
In addition, Michael Madanly and Larry Fonacier were instrumental to TNT’s third-quarter fury that left the Bolts stunned. TNT used a 21-8 mid-quarter run to blast their way to a 21-point cushion capped by a Michael Ammons layup.
“Both teams were making and missing shots in the first half. In the third quarter they missed, and we just converted on our end. That’s just how the game is,” explained TNT head coach Jong Uichico.
In the fourth, Meralco started to click from downtown, but TNT had every answer on the offensive end. The two teams played garbage time for the majority of the final quarter, but TNT still ended up outscoring the Bolts in the last two frames.
Despite committing more turnovers, TNT scored more off the miscues by Meralco, 19 to 7. Moreover, TNT converted nine more triples in this blowout win, while maintaining 50 percent, 15-of-30 three-point shooting.
“It’s just the first game and it’s still a series,” Uichico stresssed. “Meralco can comeback and we can’t let our guards down. We haven’t accomplished anything and it’s just one game.”
Allen Durham played well in the loss, finishing with 26 points and 21 rebounds, to go along with seven assists and three rejections. Cliff Hodge added 16 markers and eight boards.
Game Two of this series will be played 46 hours from now at the same venue, where TNT will try to go up to a dominant 2-0 lead.
TNT Katropa (113) – Madanly 22, Rosario 16, Ammons 15, Castro 14, De Ocampo 12, Fonacier 9, Williams 8, Reyes 6, Rosales 6, Tautuaa 5, Ababou 0, Rosser 0.
Meralco (95) – Durham 26, Hodge 16, Dillinger 12, Alapag 8, Amer 8, Hugnatan 8, Faundo 6, Nabong 3, Newsome 3, Uyloan 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Buenafe 0, Guevarra 0.
Quarterscores: 24-23, 45-43, 84-67, 113-95