MANILA, Philippines – There will be a new champion in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup after TNT dethroned reigning titleholder Magnolia with a 98-97 comeback win at the Araneta Coliseum on Monday, November 25.
Ray Parks hit crucial free throws and import KJ McDaniels came up with the biggest defensive stop of the game as the No. 3 KaTropa stormed back from 18 points down to secure their place in the semifinals.
The No. 6 Hotshots were primed force a do-or-die match and cancel their foes’ twice-to-beat bonus after leading 80-62, but fizzled out in the final quarter where they allowed the other side to score 32 points.
A 9-0 run capped with a booming Troy Rosario triple knotted the score for TNT at 96-96 before Parks put the KaTropa ahead 98-97 by calmly sinking his foul shots with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Romeo Travis, who failed to give the Hotshots a two-point lead earlier after splitting his freebies, had a chance to compensate for his miscue but saw his potential go-ahead layup swatted away by McDaniels.
Magnolia still had 1.1 ticks left to steal the game only to witness Mark Barroca throw an errant inbound pass as the ball slipped out of Travis’ hands at the buzzer.
Jayson Castro topscored for TNT with 30 points – 9 coming in the payoff period – on top of 7 rebounds, and 2 steals, while McDaniels churned out 25 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks in the win.
It is the first time since 2017 that the KaTropa will reach the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup after barely making the playoffs last season at 9th place.
Rosario had 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Parks added 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists for TNT, which will face Meralco in a best-of-five semifinals series that will kick off after the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Travis nearly had a 30-30 game with 32 points, 26 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals, but his missed free throw in the last 15 seconds proved too costly as the Hotshots’ title-retention bid came to a screeching halt.
TNT 98 – Castro 30, McDaniels 25, Rosario 12, Reyes 10, Pogoy 8, Parks 7, Digregorio 6, Williams 0.
Magnolia 97 – Travis 32, Dela Rosa 13, Jalalon 12, Lee 11, Barroca 9, Banchero 8, Sangalang 7, Pingris 4, Melton 1, Reavis 0.
Quarters: 22-26, 48-54, 68-80, 98-97.