The TNT KaTropa were well on their way to taking the series opener when everything fell apart in the closing minutes of the final period. This time around, the team was able to hold on to the lead and finally take down defending champion San Miguel 93-88 to even their best-of-three quarterfinal series at 1-game apiece, Monday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Troy Rosario drained a clutch three-pointer and Jayson Castro followed it up by scoring on a gutsy drive over June Mar Fajardo to break out of an 86-all deadlock and establish a comfortable five-point advantage with only 31 ticks left on the game clock. The win shoved TNT to within one win away from a Philippine Cup semifinals date with the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.
Game 3 is scheduled on April 10, Wednesday at the same venue.
Rosario and Castro’s endgame heroics saved TNT from another monumental collapse as the KaTropa blew an 11-point lead and allowed the Beermen to tie the game at 86 all, the last 8 points coming off the twin tower combo of Fajardo and Christian Standhardinger.
Roger Pogoy had another stellar outing as he finished with 20 points while the veteran duo of Castro and Rosario added 19 and 15 respectively.
Fajardo led the way for the defending champions with 26 points and 19 boards while Standhardinger added 18 markers.
TNT 93 – Pogoy 20, Castro 19, Rosario 15, Trollano 12, Reyes 9, Washington 5, Taha 4, Semerad A. 4, Williams 4, Heruela 1, Carey 0.
San Miguel 88 – Fajardo 26, Standhardinger 18, Cabagnot 16, Romeo 12, Ross 6, Lassiter 5, Santos 5, Tubid 0, Nabong 0, Rosser 0, Pessumal 0.
Quarterscores: 20-19, 54-43, 73-68, 93-88.