TNT recovers then survives Meralco in OT, seals semis date with Brgy. Ginebra

PBA Media Bureau

Six seconds away from an upset win, the Meralco Bolts blew their chance away and let the TNT KaTropa join the march of the top seeds into the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.

The KaTropa pounced on a grievous in-bounds play by Chris Newsome in the last 6.1 seconds of regulation and salvaged a 104-96 win in overtime to set up a best-of-five semifinal showdown with the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

Game One is at 6:30 p.m. Sunday also at the Big Dome.

Ginebra certainly has the advatange with couples of days of rest and a better preparation at least in the series opener.

“We don’t really have a choice, but it’s better playing on Sunday than resting the rest of the conference,” said TNT coach Nash Racela.

In salvaging the series versus Meralco, Racela said the biggest key was not losing hope.

“We knew we were down as we had a turnover before Meralco’s last play. Ang sabi lang namin we’ll not give up hanggang hindi tapos ang game. In the end, we wanted to force a turnover and we’re lucky it happened,” said Racela. – PBA

The scores:

TNT 104 – Castro 31, Smith 31, Pogoy 13, Reyes 8, De Ocampo 7, Garcia 7, Williams 6, Semerad 1, Rosario 0, Rosales 0, Carey 0, Tautuaa 0.

MERALCO 96 – Amer 25, Dillinger 20, Stepheson 15, Hugnatan 12, Newsome 7, Hodge 6, Caram 6, Daquioag 3, Nabong 2, Uyloan 0.

Quarterscores: 29-19, 38-43, 66-73, 89-89, 104-96.