TNT KaTropa overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to beat Alaska, 104-93, on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum and clinch a spot in the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Terrence Jones saved the KaTropa from a huge upset over the eighth-seed Aces with his splendid play in the second half, setting up the top seeds for a best-of-five semifinal series against crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra.
Jones had a near triple-double as he compiled 37 points, 22 rebounds, and nine assists, and got a lot of support from the locals as twice-to-beat TNT atoned for a shock 108-72 loss to the Aces in their first match in the quarterfinals.
Troy Rosario added 20 points while Jayson Castro chipped in 17 points and six assists for the KaTropa. Don Trollano contributed 14 points while RR Pogoyo had 12 points after scoring just two points in the first game.
“Sabi namin, we have to play harder than the last game, make up your mind on defense, and execute on offense. Buti na lang, it came out in the game,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena.
The KaTropa fell behind, 45-30, midway through the second quarter but slowly chipped away at the Alaska lead until a Jones basket tied the score at 87-all.
TNT avoided becoming only the fourth top-seed team to lose to an eighth seed in the quarterfinals and instead set up an intriguing semis clash against Ginebra, which swept Magnolia in their best-of-three semifinal on Tuesday.
Simon Enciso scored 15 of his 24 points in the first half where he was a perfect 5-of-5 from threes. Diamon Simpson produced 19 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.
TNT 104 – Jones 37, Rosario 20, Castro 17, Trollano 14, Pogoy 12, Washington 4, Heruela 0, Reyes 0, A. Semerad 0, D. Semerad 0.
Alaska 93 – Enciso 24, Simpson 19, Banchero 14, Manuel 10, Teng 9, Casio 7, Racal 7, Cruz 3, Baclao 0.
Quarters: 19-27; 44-54; 79-81; 104-93.