The Tropang Giga scored 17 unanswered points behind five consecutive threes, two from Mikey Williams, to erect a 30-9 lead that stood until the end of Game Five at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The lead swelled to as high as 28 points in the third successive blowout in the best-of-seven semifinal series, which gave top-seeded TNT a 3-2 lead and moved it on the brink of returning to the finale.
The Tropang GIGA lost to Barangay Ginebra in last season's finals in the Clark bubble.
The rookie Williams finished with 18 points built on four three-pointers. His final trey poured cold water on a rallying San Miguel side midway through the fourth period.
Jayson Castro topscored for TNT with 19 points to go with eight assists in a game that also saw Kelly Williams make a triumphant return after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols.
RR Pogoy also made up from his two-point performance in Game 4 with 18 markers including four of the 14 three-pointers the Tropang GIGA made in the match, compared to the four of the Beermen.
“I sound like a broken record, but if we are not able to match the effort of San Miguel, that’s what’s going to happen. The one that you saw in Game 4, that blowout,” TNT coach Chot Reyes said.
Heroes aplenty for TNT
“Our focus has really been, first, to get our effort and energy levels back up.”
The Tropang GIGA weren’t seriously challenged after posting a big lead and the closest the Beermen got was at 85-69. Williams was quick to douse the SMB run with a trey and Pogoy converted a lay-up as the gap climbed to 21 again.
Troy Rosario added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Williams had 12 points for the Tropang GIGA.
Wearing a protective mask after sustaining a fractured cheek bone, Poy Erram had 10 points and six rebounds for the Tropang GIGA, who will look to finish off the Beermen in Game Six on Friday at the DHVSU gym.
June Mar Fajardo had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and CJ Perez had 18 points and eight rebounds, but a sluggish start left the Beermen in too deep a hole to climb out of.
TNT 110 – Castro 19, M. Williams 18, Pogoy 18, Rosario 17, K. Williams 12, Erram 10, Reyes 6, Montalbo 5, Exciminiano 3, Marcelo 2, Khobuntin 0, Heruela 0, Alejandro 0.
San Miguel 90 – Fajardo 23, Perez 18, Santos 14, Romeo 12, Tautuaa 10, Lassiter 5, Pessumal 3, Ross 3, Cabagnot 2, Zamar 0, Gamalinda 0, Sena 0.
Quarters: 32-17; 61-35; 81-61; 110-90.
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