ANTHONY Semerad emerged as the unlikely hero as TNT KaTropa stunned Barangay Ginebra, 107-103, on Tuesday night to move a win away from reaching the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
The Filipino-Australian wingman, acquired for his defensive prowess in a recent trade, knocked down four three-pointers in the payoff period, none bigger than the last one that put the Texters up for good with 53 seconds left.
Joshua Smith then put back a Jayson Castro missed triple to give them a two-possession lead with eight seconds left as the Texters thus wiggled out winners of a nip-and-tuck affair to register their second straight win in their best-of-five series and pushed the top-seeded Gin Kings on the brink of elimination.
“We’re looking forward to Game Three adjustments,” TNT coach Nash Racela said. “Coach Tim made a lot of good adjustments and some of it we already saw, but we still had a hard time countering it.”
“It was a collective effort, but it was the one of Tony that was glaring,” he added.
The Texters try to go for a sweep in Game Three on Thursday night at the Big Dome.
The Gin Kings found a way to limit the production of Smith, who was held to just 16 points on nine attempts along with 16 boards in 27 minutes after exploding for 35 points and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes in Game Two.
Ginebra, however, failed to find an answer to Semerad, who scored 14 points in 20 minutes as a starter, all but two in the final frame apart from shadowing Justin Brownlee all-game long.
Brownlee still finished with 22 points, but took 24 shots to get to his total, although he added 12 boards, three assists, two steals, and two blocks in 43 minutes to lead the Gin Kings.
LA Tenorio also scored 22 points on top of six rebounds, five assists, and three steals in 43 minutes, draining the triple that gave the Gin Kings their last taste of the lead that was canceled out by Semerad’s last trey.
TNT 107 – Smith 16, Semerad 14, Pogoy 14, Castro 12, Williams 12, Garcia 8, Rosales 8, De Ocampo 7, Reyes 6, Rosario 6, Tautuaa 4, Carey 0
GINEBRA 103 – Brownlee 22, Tenorio 22, Aguilar 17, Devance 14, Thompson 13, Mercado 7, Caguioa 2, Mariano 2, Ferrer 2, Marcelo 2, Helterbrand 0, Cruz 0
Quarterscores: 22-26, 56-59, 84-85, 107-103