TNT KaTropa continued to prove San Miguel Beer is beatable as it hacked out a 98-92 victory on Sunday night to turn the tables in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series.
After ending the Beermen's 11-game win streak in Game Two, the Texters kept the defending champions on the ropes as they drew a balanced effort from their old reliables and their young guns to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Ranidel de Ocampo and Kelly Williams sustained their resurgent play while rookie Roger Pogoy continued to provide solid contribution especially down the stretch as the Texters moved two wins away from reaching the finals.
Danny Seigle also delivered in quality minutes as he proved to be a thorn in the side of his former team.
“I’m still reliant on my veterans, but it’s a good mixture (with the young guns),” TNT coach Nash Racela said. “Everybody’s trying to contribute and help the team.”
“Similar to last game, it’s still our defense,” he added. “I think coach Leo did a good job adjusting his rotations, but it was good we were able to recover.”
The Texters can move on the verge of a finals berth with a win in Game Four on Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Pogoy scored a career-high 22 points, the last on a dagger three-pointer that gave the Texters a 92-86 lead with a little over three minutes left, enough cushion to allow them to trade baskets with the Beermen down the stretch.
De Ocampo paced the Texters with a game-high 24 points and missed a double-double by just one rebound, adding three assists, and one steal in 33 minutes. Williams added 11 points and three boards in 17 minutes off the bench.
Seigle scored all hi four points in the fourth quarter and added two blocks, including one on June Mar Fajardo, in six minutes of play.
Jayson Castro still attacked the basket when he had to, but focused more on being a facilitator as he finished with a double-double of 11 points and 12 assists on top of four boards, and one steal in 33 minutes.
Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter led the Beermen with 18 points apiece, while Fajardo added 16 points and nine boards, but the reigning MVP sat on the bench at a crucial juncture in the final frame when he picked up his fifth foul halfway through the period.
TNT 98 – De Ocampo 24, Pogoy 22, Castro 11, Williams 11, Tautuaa 10, Rosario 9, Seigle 4, Fonacier 3, Rosales 2, Reyes 2, Carey 0, Golla 0, Sumalinog 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0
SMB 92 – Cabagnot 18, Lassiter 18, Fajardo 16, Ross 12, Santos 12, Espinas 8, Heruela 4, Tubid 4, Reyes 0, Agovida 0
Quarterscores: 25-30, 53-49, 72-72, 98-92