LEAGUE-leading TNT gave defending champion Barangay Ginebra the blushes, hammering out a masterful 88-67 triumph in their titanic showdown in the 46th PBA Philippine Cup Sunday in Bacolor, Pampanga.
With guards Mikey Williams and Jayson Castro as spearhead, the Tropang Giga clamped down on the Gin Kings and turned what's expected to be a tightly-fought contest between the 2020 All-Filipino finals protagonists into a one-sided affair.
Quarterfinal-assured TNT jacked up its record to 8-1 while putting more distance between itself and its closest pursuers for the Top 2.
Celebrated rookie Williams introduced himself in the TNT-Ginebra rivalry by rifling in 27 points, dropping 10 of those in the first, where the Tropang Giga overcame an early 2-8 deficit to take a 20-16 lead.
Castro, who was scoreless in their last game, bounced back with 14, including 10 in the second period, where TNT unleashed a 25-16 salvo to pull away to 45-32.
Aside from getting back at their conquerors in the 2020 All-Filipino finals, the Tropang Giga sent the Gin Kings down to 3-5 and stuck at ninth spot.
"We came into the game and we wanted to make sure we exerted better effort than them (Ginebra), that we make better decisions, and execute better. And I think we achieved that this afternoon," said TNT coach Chot Reyes.
The main focus of TNT's game plan, according to Reyes, was to "contain" Ginebra's offensive machine, especially "Twin Towers" Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar and "Twin Guards" Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio.
"We all know how clinical and precise they run the triangle and how patient they are," said Reyes whose defenders allowed Aguilar to score 18, Standhardinger 14, and Pringle 12, while holding Tenorio scoreless.
"And we had to make sure we're able to contain their Twin Towers and Twin Guards. That's the difficulty of playing Ginebra. You have to worry about Japeth and Christian as well as LA and Pringle and then there's a Scottie Thompson in the wing. We have to find a way to contain their offense," he added. (OL)
TNT 88 - M. Williams 27, Castro 14, Rosario 14, Pogoy 13, K. Williams 7, Montalbo 5, Marcelo 4, Erram 2, Exciminiano 2, Reyes 0, Heruela 0, Alejandro 0, Javier 0, Mendoza 0.
Ginebra 67 - Aguilar 18, Standhardinger 14, Thompson 13, Pringle 12, Mariano 6, Caperal 2, Ayaay 2, Dillinger 0, Salado 0, Tenorio 0, Devance 0.
Quarterscores: 20-16, 45-32, 62-52, 88-67.