TNT on brink of finals stint after pushing Ginebra down 0-2
MANILA, Philippines – TNT KaTropa hit big shot after big shot late to stave off Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in Game 2, 107-103, of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals to move a win away from a finals appearance.
Anthony Semerad sizzled in the fourth quarter and hit all 4 of his 3-pointers to pour 12 of his 14 points in that period, including a couple of clutch ones but none bigger than the go-ahead trey that turned a one-point TNT deficit into a two-point lead with 53 seconds left.
Empty possessions from Ginebra and a crucial failure to secure the defensive rebound then led to import Joshua Smith scoring two points off a putback for the dagger 45 seconds later.
TNT claimed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series, with Game 3 slated for Thursday, June 15.
Smith again came off the bench for 16 points and 16 rebounds, while RR Pogoy pitched in 14 points, 4 rebounds, and two assists. Kelly Williams registered 12 markers and 7 boards.
Jayson Castro, whose missed 3 preceded Smith's game-sealing putback, finished with an all-around game of 12 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and two steals.
For the Gin Kings, Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio conspired for 44 points. Brownlee tracked down 12 boards while Tenorio had 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Japeth Aguilar tallied 17 points and 9 rebounds, Joe Devance scored 14, and Scottie Thompson put up 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists.
In these first two games of the series Ginebra has struggled for an answer to TNT's hulking import Smith, who exploits his bulk to get his way in the paint.
The Gin Kings are currently missing the presence of 7-footer Greg Slaughter, who is still recovering from a season-long knee injury, although he has suited up on the bench.
TNT (107): Smith 16, Semerad 14, Pogoy 14, Castro 12, Williams 12, Garcia 8, Rosales 8, De Ocampo 7, Reyes 6, Rosario 6, Tautuaa 4, Carey 0.
Ginebra (103): Brownlee 22, Tenorio 22, Aguilar 17, Devance 14, Thompson 13, Mercado 7, Caguioa 2, Mariano 2, Ferrer 2, Marcelo 2, Helterbrand 0, Cruz 0.
Quarter scores: 22-26, 56-59, 84-85, 107-103.