TNT escapes upset axe from Alaska to reach semis
MANILA, Philippines – TNT was not just about to be on the wrong end of another upset after toppling Alaska, 104-93, in the quarterfinals of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, July 24.
Import Terrence Jones dominated with 37 points, 22 rebounds, and 9 assists as the KaTropa bucked off a lethargic second half to reach the semifinals for the first time in 5 conferences.
Awaiting TNT in the next round is defending champion Barangay Ginebra, which swept quarterfinals foe Magnolia in their best-of-three affair.
Dragged to a do-or-die match by the No. 8 Aces following an uncharacteristic 36-point loss 3 days ago, the No. 1 KaTropa and their twice-to-beat playoff incentive just proved too much to overcome.
Jones carried TNT on his back by erupting for 22 points in the second half, while the locals made their shots from behind-the-arc as they erased a deficit as large as 15 points.
Trailing 44-54 at halftime, the KaTropa immediately got themselves back in the game as Troy Rosario, Jayson Castro, and Don Trollano shot a combined 7-of-7 clip from long range to enter the final frame down by just one possession, 79-81.
Jones then took over in the payoff period, toying with the Aces defense and scoring the last 9 points for his team.
Rosario finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds, Castro had 17 points and 6 assists, Trollano added 14 points and 5 rebounds, while Roger Pogoy chipped in 12 points, 3 steals and 2 blocks in the victory.
Simon Enciso paced Alaska with 24 points off 7 triples, but Alaska just ran out of steam in the second half and failed to become one of the few No. 8 teams in PBA history to beat a No. 1 squad.
Diamon Simpson had 19 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals, while Chris Banchero and Vic Manuel deliverd 14 and 10 points, respectively, in the loss.
TNT 104 - Jones 37, Rosario 20, Castro 17, Trollano 14, Pogoy 12, Washington 4, Reyes 0, Heruela 0, A. Semerad 0, D. Semerad 0.
Alaska 93 - Enciso 24, Simpson 19, Banchero 14, Manuel 10, Teng 9, Casio 7, Racal 7, Cruz 3, Baclao 0.
Quarters: 19-27, 44-54, 79-81, 104-93