PBA Commissioner’s Cup

TNT annihilates Terrafirma by 40; NLEX holds off NorthPort 

Martin Mendoza

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TNT annihilates Terrafirma by 40; NLEX holds off NorthPort 

ALL OUT. TNT import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tries to shake off the defense off Terrafirma’s Eric Camson.

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Imports Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Thomas Robinson show the way as TNT and NLEX post contrasting wins in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup

MANILA, Philippines – The TNT Tropang Giga took advantage of an undermanned Terrafirma side and sent the Dyip crashing back to earth with a 133-93 annihilation in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, November 22.

Playing minus its import Thomas De Thaey due to a groin injury and high-scoring guard Juami Tiongson due to a flu, Terrafirma had no answers for TNT and its reinforcement Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who went off for 37 points on 14-of-21 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Four more players scored in twin-digits for TNT in the 40-point blowout – its largest winning margin in franchise history – with Calvin Oftana, Jayson Castro, and rookie Henry Galinato all putting up 15 points each, while veteran forward Kelly Williams chipping in 13 markers. 

After a tight first half, where TNT led by just 3 points, the Tropang Giga came out with guns blazing from the halftime break and unleashed a 41-16 rampage in the third quarter to turn a slim 58-55 edge into an enormous 99-71 cushion heading into the fourth and final period. 

The Tropang Giga then coasted the rest of the way as they notched their second win in three matches, while the Dyip saw their short two-game winning run halted and fell to a 2-2 slate. 

“I just told them that for the team that you know you can beat and for the weaker team, usually they stay with you, just basing it on experience. They’re going to stay with you for the first two quarters,” said TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa. 

“So at halftime, we just discussed about being patient and that we don’t have to win by 20. We can win by one, it doesn’t really matter if we know we can beat them.”

“But this game, really, we were kind of worried about this. If they (Dyip) were complete, we know that they’re a really, really strong team. The two wins that they had in the beginning weren’t flukes,” added Lastimosa. 

Reigning player of the week Javi Gomez de Liaño produced a team-high 16 points for Terrafirma, while Isaac Go pumped in a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. 

Stephen Holt, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 PBA Draft, also came up with a double-double of 13 markers and 10 boards for the Dyip in the loss. 

In the second game, the NLEX Road Warriors bounced back from their tough, one-point defeat at the hands of the Dyip last Saturday, November 18, with a 112-104 win over the NorthPort Batang Pier. 

Thomas Robinson, who missed the game-tying free throw in that sorry loss to Terrafirma, redeemed himself with a monster outing of 30 points and 18 rebounds.

Don Trollano also came up big and sizzled for 29 points for the Road Warriors as they played their first game without their injured star Kevin Alas, who suffered his third ACL tear against the Dyip last Saturday. 

Trollano dropped 18 of his 29 points in the first quarter alone to help NLEX build an early double-digit lead at the end of the opening period, 37-23.

The Road Warriors saw their 14-point advantage cut to just 7 at halftime, 60-53, before re-establishing a 91-77 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. 

With NorthPort still knocking on NLEX’s door with 4:14 to play in the payoff period, 101-96, Robinson then went on a personal 6-0 run to put the Batang Pier away for good, 107-96. 

Joshua Munzon paced NorthPort with 22 points, while Venky Jois tallied a huge double-double of 20 markers and 19 rebounds.

NorthPort’s main gunner Arvin Tolentino also chipped in 19 points, but went 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. 

The Road Warriors improved their record to 2-2, while the Batang Pier skidded to an identical 2-2 card.

The Scores

First Game 

TNT 133 – Hollis-Jefferson 37, Oftana 15, Castro 15, Galinato 15, K. Williams 13, Cruz 8, Tungcab 8, Tolomia 6, Aurin 6, Khobuntin 4, Reyes 3, Ponferada 3, Heruela 0, Flores 0. 

Terrafirma 93 – Gomez de Liaño 16, Go 14, Holt 13, Camson 12, Alolino 9, Miller 8, Cahilig 7, Calvo 7, Ramos 4, Mina 3, Olivario 0, Daquioag 0. 

Quarters: 28-26, 58-55, 99-71, 133-93. 

Second Game

NLEX 112 – Robinson 30, Trollano 29, Rosales 15, Anthony 10, Herndon 8, Rodger 7, 

Semerad 5, Pascual 4, Miranda 2, Marcelo 2, Fajardo 0, Gabo 0.

NorthPort 104 – Munzon 22, Jois 20, Tolentino 19, Flores 15, Chan 9, Calma 6, Paraiso 5, Salado 3, Yu 2, Ayaay 2, Caperal 0, Amores 0. 

Quarters: 37-23, 60-53, 91-77, 112-104. 

– Rappler.com

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