TNT survives Game 3 overtime thriller against Meralco, advances to semis

Alyssa Rola

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TNT survives Game 3 overtime thriller against Meralco, advances to semis
TNT overcomes a second quarter fizzle out to rebound in overtime to clinch a spot in the final 4

MANILA, PhilippinesIt’s a comeback for the TNT KaTropa.

The 4th seed shook off elimination scare as the KaTropa survived another overtime thriller against the Meralco Bolts, 104-96, to reach the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals, on Friday, June 9 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The KaTropa, whose explosive start helped build a 15-point advantage early in the do-or-die match, sizzled out offensively in the second quarter as they put up only 9 points on the board.

Down 88-89 with 7 seconds remaining in regulation, Jayson Castro earned a trip to the stripe, but split his free throws to send the game into overtime.

The KaTropa pulled away in the bonus period with Castro, who tallied a game-high 31 pointss, leading the way.

Joshua Smith fouled out in the opening minutes of overtime, but produced good numbers with 31 points, 27 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Baser Amer led the charge for the Bolts as he poured out 25 points to go with 9 boards and 4 assists.

Jared Dillinger added 20 and missed only two attempts from beyond the arc, while import Alex Stepheson had 15 markers and 12 boards for the Bolts.

The Bolts steadily fought for survival in a hard-earned Game 2 win on Wednesday, forcing a quarterfinals rubber match after outlasting KaTropa in overtime, 103-100.

The KaTropa are slated for a best-of-5 semifinals series showdown against the top seed Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.

Meanwhile, the Star Hotshots swept defending champions Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters to set up a semis match-up versus no. 2 ranked San Miguel Beermen in the other bracket. –

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