Oct 13, 2021

Tropang Giga regain bearing, thunder to doorstep of PBA finals

KELLY Williams finally returned from isolation, Poy Erram played through a broken cheekbone and the whole TNT Tropang Giga played an inspired game.

They overpowered and overwhelmed a stunned San Miguel Beer side, hacking out a 110-90 rout to move to the doorstep of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Wednesday night at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Now with a virtual twice-to-beat advantage, the Tropang Giga take their first attempt at closing out the best-of-seven series at 3 p.m. Friday.

Williams and Erram provided tremendous boost just with their presence that the Tropang Giga badly missed in their shattering 90-116 defeat in Game 4.

And with the TNT shooters also finding their marks, the Tropang Giga blasted the Beermen as they did in a previous blowout win in Game 3, 115-98.

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Jayson Castro, Mikey Williams, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Kelly Williams and Erram put in double-figure outputs as the Tropang Giga once again dominated the Beermen and put themselves in a position to win the series Friday or Sunday.

TNT coach Chot Reyes said Williams and Erram were big factors with their "huge minutes put even in a not so ideal situation."

Reyes said both were of big help providing extra bodies to battle San Miguel giants June Mar Fajardo and Moala Tautuaa.

Williams collected 12 points, three rebounds and three assists, going with the tough effort to defend against Fajardo while Erram, playing with a face mask early on to protect his injury, came up with 10 markers and six boards.

Castro top scored with 19 points on top of eight rebounds, Mikey Williams and Pogoy fired 18 apiece while Rosario chipped in 17 markers and eight boards.

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From a long hiatus, Kelly Williams came in and joined forces with Mikey Williams, Kib Montalbo, Pogoy and Rosario to give TNT a swashbuckling start that the team sustained all night long.

TNT had a 17-0 salvo to highlight a first-half splurge leading to a 61-35 spread at the turn.

Williams and his teammates outrebounded Fajardo and company, 28-18, with the TNT cashing in on hustle plays, outscoring the Beermen, 22-16, at the paint and, 12-6, on second-chance output in the first 24 minutes of play.

And there's no let up for the Tropang Giga in the second half.

"Alam natin sobrang lakas ng San Miguel, at sanay lumaro sa championship. Pero kahit malakas sila, alam namin may tsansa kami if we make our shots at kung lagpasan namin ang effort nila," said Castro.(SB)

The scores:

TNT 110 - Castro 19, M. Williams 18, Pogoy 18, Rosario 17, K. Williams 12, Erram 10, Reyes 6, Montalbo 5, Exciminiano 3, Marcelo 2, Khobuntin 0, Heruela 0, Alejandro 0, Javier 0, Mendoza 0.

SMB 90 - Fajardo 23, Perez 18, Santos 14, Romeo 12, Tautuaa 10, Lassiter 5, Pessumal 3, Ross 3, Cabagnot 2, Zamar 0, Gotladera 0, Comboy 0, Gamalinda 0, Sena 0.

Quarters: 32-17, 61-35, 81-61, 110-90.