Asian basketball

TNT falls to KBL’s Seoul SK Knights, ends EASL run winless

Delfin Dioquino

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TNT falls to KBL’s Seoul SK Knights, ends EASL run winless

BOOTED. Mikey Williams and TNT bow out of the EASL Champions Week.

East Asia Super League Facebook page

TNT keeps in step with reigning KBL champions Seoul SK Knights through the first three quarters before it comes apart in the final salvo to end its run with a 0-2 record

MANILA, Philippines – TNT crashed out of contention in the East Asia Super League Champions Week in Japan after concluding its campaign without a win, absorbing an 80-69 loss to the Seoul SK Knights on Friday, March 3.

The Tropang Giga kept in step with the reigning Korean Basketball League champions through the first three quarters before they came apart in the final salvo to end their run in Group B with a 0-2 record.

Unlike their 33-point loss to the Utsunomiya Brex, TNT import Jalen Hudson finally received help, but a dismal fourth quarter that saw the Tropang Giga get outscored, 23-14, after trailing by just a bucket, 55-57, proved to be their undoing.

Hudson finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds, Calvin Oftana topscored for TNT with 16 points and 3 rebounds off the bench, while Mikey Williams put up 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Former NBA player Daniel Ochefu added a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds with 2 blocks and 2 steals in the loss.

The Tropang Giga played without veteran guard Jayson Castro, who is out with a hand injury.

Seoul import Jameel Warney dominated with a 21-point, 19-rebound, 11-assist triple-double and two more Knights players scored at least 20 points.

Leon Williams posted 20 points and 21 rebounds, while Kim Sun-hyung netted 21 points and 9 assists in the victory that hiked the Knights’ record to 2-0 and sent them to the championship game.

Only the top teams from each of the two groups will advance to the finals, where a $250,000 (nearly P14 million) purse awaits the winner.

Meanwhile, the Bay Area Dragons bounced back from their collapse against Seoul with a 96-90 win over defending B. League titlist Utsunomiya.

Andrew Nicholson frolicked inside with a 26-point, 12-rebound double-double and Myles Powell stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals as Bay Area secured its place in the third-place game.

The Dragons and the Brex finished with identical 1-1 records in Group B, but Bay Area took the tiebreak by virtue of the win-over-the-other rule.

Over in Group A, San Miguel (0-1) tries to stay in contention as it battles Rhenz Abando and KBL powerhouse Anyang KGC (1-0) on Saturday.

The Scores

Seoul 80 – Warney 21, Kim 21, Williams 20, Heo 6, Song 4, W. Choi 3, S. Choi 3, Oh 2, N. Choi 0. 

TNT 69 – Oftana 16, Hudson 14, M. Williams 13, Ochefu 12, Pogoy 9, Varilla 3, Marcelo 2, K. Williams 0, Cruz 0, Khobuntin 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.

Quarters: 25-28, 31-32, 57-55, 80-69.


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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.