TNT Katropa soundly defeated Magnolia, 98-83, on Wednesday night to lock up the No. 1 seed heading to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Terrence Jones finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and five blocks for the KaTropa, who ended the eliminations with a league-best 10-1 record after picking up their eighth straight victory.
As the top seed in the quarterfinals, the KaTropa will face the winner of the playoff match between Alaska and Meralco on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots suffered their fourth straight setback to fall to 5-6, falling into a three-way tie for the fifth to seventh places with Rain or Shine and San Miguel, which lost to Meralco earlier in the day.
But thanks to a superior quotient, the Hotshots got the No. 5 seed and a best-of-three quarterfinal series against No. 4 seed Barangay Ginebra.
The Elasto Painters took sixth spot while the Beermen fell to No. 7 where they will be facing second-seed nd twice-to-beat NorthPort in the quarterfinals.
RR Pogoy was also integral to the victory, scoring 20 points including eight points in a 10-0 run that broke the game open, 35-23, in the second period.
The KaTropa led by as many as 21 points at one point.
“Gusto lang namin mag-end ‘yung elimination on a winning note. At the same time, maging habit ang winning. Kailangan namin consistency. ‘Yun ang bini-build namin,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena.
Jayson Castro and Brian Heruela added 13 points each for TNT.
Paul Lee scored 23 points while PJ Simon came off the bench to contribute 16 points for Magnolia, which only got eight points from new import Rakeem Christmas.
TNT 98 – Jones 26, Pogoy 20, Heruela 13, Castro 13, Magat 8, Trollano 5, Reyes 5, A. Semerad 3, Washington 3, Bono 2, Golla 0, D. Semerad 0, Casino 0, Taha 0.
Magnolia 83 – Lee 23, Simon 16, Sangalang 15, Jalalon 9, Christmas 8, Pingris 6, Herndon 2, Barroca 2, Dela Rosa 2, Melon 0, Reavis 0, Ramos 0, Abundo 0.
Quarters: 20-19; 45-37; 74-59; 98-83.