Mar 24, 2023

Tropang Giga blast Bolts in series opener

ONE-way traffic.

With its quick pace and explosive firepower, TNT proved too much for Meralco at least in the kickoff of their PBA Governors' Cup Final Four faceoff Friday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

The Tropang Giga blasted off the starting block and hardly slowed down in a dominant wire-to-wire 110-80 win over the Bolts in Game One of the best-of-five series.

Asserting themselves as the top seeds, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and his teammates opened a double-digit spread right in the first quarter, 31-19, and led by as many as 33 on the way to stretching their hot, hot streak to a 10th straight game.

It was a lopsided win for the Tropa, but coach Jojo Lastimosa wouldn't allow his troops to drop down their guard just yet.

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He has a lot of respect to Meralco coach Norman Black, knowing "he's been there for a long time, he's won a lot and he knows how to adjust in this kind of situation."

With just a day's break, the two teams slug it out in Game Two in the same playing venue at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Lastimosa said the big key in their Game One massacre was them coming in ready to match the Bolts' intensity, energy and effort.

"I was just surprised that it looked like Meralco was lacking a bit of energy maybe because they came off an emotional victory and maybe they a little bit on a high, and there's a lot of reason," said Lastimosa.

Whatever it was, the Tropang Giga ripped the Bolts into pieces, with Hollis-Jefferson and RR Pogoy leading the TNT juggernaut.

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Hollis-Jefferson turned in an error-free triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists plus two steals and two blocks while Pogoy rifled in 21 markers built on 5-of-8 three-pointers.

Calvin Oftana, Mikey Williams and Jayson Castro played their part, scoring at least 12 points each.

The Bolts, meanwhile, came out flat, with not a single player finishing with more than 12.

KJ McDaniels led the Bolts with 12 points and 14 rebounds. (SB)

The Scores:

TNT 110 - Hollis-Jefferson 22, Pogoy 21, Oftana 15, M.Williams 14, Castro 12, Khobuntin 7, Tungcab 6, Montalbo 5, Chua 4, Erram 4, Acuno 0, Cruz 0, Varilla 0, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.

Meralco 80 - McDaniels 12, Quinto 11, Newsome 10, Almazan 10, Hodge 9, Jose 9, Black 7, Dario 5, Johnson 3, Hugnatan 2, Maliksi 2, Banchero 0, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Rios 0, Pascual 0.

Quarters: 31-19, 57-45, 92-66, 11-80