TNT Tropang Giga set numerous records and endured a fightback from a struggling Magnolia to grab a 105-93 win and a 2-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven finals at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga Friday night.
The Tropang Giga scored the most points in a quarter when they led at 40-27 in the opening period, a feat no PBA squad in the last 10 years has ever accomplished.
This set up the tempo for the Tropang Giga the rest of way, with super rookie Mikey Williams spearheading TNT’s assault for the second straight game with 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Jayson Castro added 16 points and five boards for TNT.
“It’s execution and selflessness, the willingness of the players to make the extra passes and find the open guy,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes.
Troy Rosario and BJ Heruela helped Williams and Castro with 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Tropang Giga, who are now two matches closer to a 4-0 sweep of the championship series.
TNT also finished with the second all-time most triples recorded in a finals’ match of 17 treys, when Williams drilled one with 4:29 to go, giving the Tropang Giga a 100-89 cushion.
The PBA finals’ record for most made 3s in a game was 18 by San Miguel Beer in its 2019 Commissioner’s Cup Game 2 Finals against TNT.
Williams’ final trey allowed TNT to finally move away after Magnolia threatened to within six points off Calvin Abueva’s split charity, 84-90, with 8:33 remaining.
“We often say that the ball has energy. So, if they’re willing to share it, they just have to find the open man, and that’s what led to the hot shooting in the first half,” added Reyes.
The Tropang Giga also knocked in the most triples in a quarter with 13, with BJ Heruela, accounting for two of four, RR Pogoy and Williams sending one each as the Tropang established a 22-10 spread with 4:36 left.
It was almost a duplicate of the 11 treys buried by TNT in Game 1 of 2011 Governors’ Cup title series against Petron Blaze, a game which the Texters unfortunately lost, 88-89.
“We talked about it (40-point output) at halftime. And we knew it was not going to last. In the end, we are still going to need to defend, rely on our defense to win this game,” said Reyes.
With both squads already in penalty in the second quarter, the Tropang Giga coasted to a record-setting 66-50 first half edge.
Three consecutive three-pointers from JP Erram, Heruela and Williams kept the Tropang Giga up by 18, 54-36, with 7:33 remaining.
Ian Sangalang, returning from a back injury in Game 1, drilled in 12 of his game-high 25 points in the third canto as he helped put Magnolia within range, 74-82, with his layup at the 1:57 mark.
The Hotshots continued to rally in the third, cutting TNT’s lead by seven off Jio Jalalon’s three-pointer at the buzzer, 79-86.
The Tropang Giga made the night more memorable with their 66-point tally at the end of the second half, as this turned out to be the most points scored in the first half of a finals encounter in three years.
Brgy. Ginebra had a 67-point performance in in Game 4 of the 2018 Commissioners Cup against the Beermen in a game the Gin Kings won, 130-100.
Calvin Abueva had 11 points with Andy Barroca, and had 11 rebounds as well for Magnolia.
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