TnT secures PHL Cup finals berth

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THE TnT Tropang Giga are through to the finals of the PBA Philippine Cup after defeating the San Miguel Beermen, 97-79, in their Game Seven semifinal rubber match on Sunday. — PBA IMAGES

THE TnT Tropang Giga are through to the finals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup after defeating the San Miguel Beermen, 97-79, in their Game Seven semifinal rubber match on Sunday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

TnT had strong middle quarters to establish control then finish in a flurry to close out San Miguel and book the last finals tickets in the ongoing PBA tournament.

The contest got off to a competitive start before the Beermen made a late push in the opening quarter to build a 23-15 advantage after the first 12 minutes.

In the second quarter, the Tropang Giga came out swinging, outscoring the Beermen, 10-2, in the first three and a half minutes to level the count at 25-all.

TnT then raced to an 11-point advantage, 43-32, by the 1:13 mark, and eventually settled for a nine-point cushion, 45-36, at the break.

San Miguel played aggressively to begin the third canto but TnT was ready for it, continuously holding the Beermen at bay and ahead, 56-47, with 4:31 to go in the frame.

TnT continued to hold sway after, up, 67-55, heading into the final quarter.

With their season on the line, the Beermen tried to make their move to reclaim some ground, going to big man June Mar Fajardo.

They, however, would have little success as they continued to trail, 79-67, with 7:24 to go with rookie Mikey Williams and Roger Pogoy providing firepower to TnT.

The Tropang Giga continued to lord it over the Beermen, stretching their lead to 21 points, 92-71, with 3:27 and were never threatened from there.

Mr. Pogoy led the way for the Tropang Giga with 27 points, followed by Mr. Williams with 20.

Troy Rosario and Kelly Williams, meanwhile, had double-doubles of 12 points and 12 rebounds and 11 and 10, respectively.

For San Miguel, it was Mr. Fajardo who top-scored with 22 points to go along with 16 boards, with Chris Ross finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

“The players came out with great resolve. Credit to the players for stepping up and getting the win,” said TnT coach Chot Reyes in the post-game press conference.

TnT will take on the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots in the best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals beginning on Wednesday.

It will be TnT’s second straight Philippine Cup finals appearance. In last season’s finals, the Tropang Giga fell to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in five games.

TnT is seeking its eighth PBA title in franchise history and first since winning the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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