Now that Kelly Williams is back and Poy Erram has recovered quickly from an injury, the energized TNT Tropang Giga are ready to face the San Miguel Beermen in Game 5 as a better-prepared team.
Being a complete squad going into Game 6 of the 2021 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup has given back to the Tropang Giga the energy that was missing from them when they lost badly to the Beermen in Game 4, 116-80.
“It was really very difficult for us. So, our mindset now is to forget Game 4 and look at Game 5 as a brand new game. It was 0-0 (Game 5). And now, we’re back,” said coach Chot Reyes after their game Wednesday night at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Their 110-90 beating of the Beermen in Game 5 allowed the Tropang Giga to move ahead in their best-of-seven semifinal series at 3-2.
The Tropang Giga can win the series and claim a finals’ seat outright if they hurdle the Beermen in Game 6 at 3 p.m. today.
TNT’s Game 6 encounter with SMB has the feel of a virtual twice-to-beat encounter.
This is because a loss will allow the Beermen to tie the series and force a winner-take-all rubber match on Sunday.
The Tropang Giga missed Williams at the start of the series as the 2008 MVP sat out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. He came back in Game 5 and scored 12 points to help the TNT beat SMB.
The 6’8” Erram, who had 10 points in that game, is back after sustaining a cheekbone injury when he got hurt after Beerman Moala Tautuaa landed on him during a mishap in Game 4.
Both Williams and Erram provided big baskets that sent the Tropang Giga ahead by as much 24 points in the third period.
Jayson Castro showed the way for TNT with 19 points, while RR Pogoy provided 17.
For the Beermen to bounce back, two key players will again have to play a big role, namely Terrence Romeo and RR Pogoy, who average 19 points and 17.8 points per game, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Magnolia Hotshots clash with the Meralco Bolts at 6 p.m. with an eye on a finals berth since they have 3-2 edge in the semis.
The return of Raymund Almazan from an injury somehow helped the Bolts pull off a 102-98 triumph in Game 5 on Wednesday.
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