TNT clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, snapping NorthPort’s three-game run with a 102-92 victory on Wednesday in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Rookie Mikey Williams scored 29 points and TNT got another huge contribution from Kib Montalbo with 22 points as the Tropang Giga rallied to victory in the penultimate game of their elimination round, improving their win-loss card to 9-1.
Troy Rosario added 18 points and Kelly Williams had 11 points for TNT, which overcame a 10-point deficit in the second quarter to pick up the key win.
The Batang Pier slid to 4-4, ending their winning streak following the return of head coach Pido Jarencio from quarantine. NorthPort also missed the services of Greg Slaughter and Sean Anthony in the contest.
TNT came up with the impressive win even as Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy played limited minutes.
“I thought we caught a break today because NorthPort was playing very, very good basketball but the fact that Greg and even Sean Anthony were out tonight, I thought it was big for us,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes. “It kinda cushioned our not having Glenn Khobuntin as well. I think that was a big factor.
“Still, they came out and gave us a lot of problems. We knew we were in for a battle because they are tall, athletic, long, and this was just a bad match-up for us. I’m just glad we were able to grind out the ‘W’,” said Reyes.
Trailing 22-32, TNT finished the second quarter with a 20-5 spurt with Williams scoring eight including a three that gave the lead to the Tropang Giga, 42-41, at the half.
The momentum carried in the third period where TNT outscored NorthPort, 34-23, behind Williams, who scored 11 in that quarter.
Montalbo added 10 in the third on his way to setting a new career-high.
Paolo Taha had 20 points to lead NorthPort in scoring. Robert Bolick had 12 points and 11 assists, but was hounded all game by the TNT defense and was limited to just two markers in the first half.
TNT 102 – M. Williams 29, Montalbo 22, Rosario 18, K. Williams 11, Castro 9, Reyes 6, Heruela 4, Pogoy 3, Erram 0, Alejandro 0, Marcelo 0, Mendoza 0.
NorthPort 92 – Taha 20, Ferrer 17, Malonzo 15, Bolick 12, Grey 10, Onwubere 9, Balanza 4, Lanete 4, Elorde 1, Rike 0.
Quarterscores: 19-22; 42-41; 76-64; 102-92.
We are now on Quento! Download the app to enjoy more articles and videos from SPIN.ph and other Summit Media websites.