PBA Philippine Cup

TNT clobbers Magnolia in Game 5 to end six-year PBA title drought

Delfin Dioquino
TNT clobbers Magnolia in Game 5 to end six-year PBA title drought

SUPER ROOKIE. Mikey Williams leads TNT to a PBA championship in his first conference with the team.

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TNT captures its first PBA championship since 2015 and redeems itself from a runner-up finish in the Philippine Cup last season

After six long years, the TNT Tropang Giga have regained their lost glory.

TNT took the fight out Magnolia early to wrap up the PBA Philippine Cup finals in five games with a 94-79 rout at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Friday, October 29.

Unstoppable in the finals, rookie Mikey Williams chalked up 24 points as the Tropang Giga captured their first title since 2015 and redeemed themselves from a runner-up finish in the all-Filipino conference last year.

Williams, who crowned himself the Finals MVP, put on the finishing touches in the blowout with 10 points in the final quarter.

The Hotshots still led 12-10 in the maiden quarter until TNT hit from all cylinders and erected a 35-10 run bridging the first two periods to open the floodgates with a 23-point advantage.

Eight straight points from rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi to end the first half kept the Hotshots within striking distance, 33-47, but the Tropang Giga pulled away further as their lead swelled to as big as 25 points.

The title romp came in head coach Chot Reyes’ first conference back with TNT after an almost decade-long PBA hiatus.

Reyes won his ninth PBA title and fifth overall with the Tropang Giga franchise, which captured its eighth league crown.

TNT also ended the five-year reign of the San Miguel Corporation, whose teams bagged the last 11 PBA championships.

As fate would have it, the Tropang Giga achieved the feat at the expense of all SMC squads as they toppled Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals, San Miguel in the semifinals, and Magnolia in the finals.

Roger Pogoy backstopped Williams with 19 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals, Troy Rosario had 9 points and 4 rebounds, while Poy Erram added 7 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks in winning their first PBA title.

Veteran guard Jayson Castro supplied 10 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals as he clinched his seventh PBA crown.

It was another heartbreaking campaign for the Hotshots, who settled for a runner-up finish in the Philippine Cup for the third time in the last four years after falling short of the grand prize in 2018 and 2019.

Magnolia was just outclassed in the finals as it lost by 15.5 points.

Ian Sangalang led the way for Magnolia with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while newly crowned Best Player of the Conference Calvin Abueva put up 14 points and 7 rebounds.

The Scores

TNT 94 – M. Williams 24, Pogoy 19, Castro 10, Rosario 9, Reyes 9, Khobuntin 8, Erram 7, Montalbo 7, K. Williams 1, Heruela 0, Exciminiano 0, Alejandro 0. 

Magnolia 79 – Sangalang 18, Abueva 14, Ahanmisi 11, Barroca 10, Lee 7, Dela Rosa 5, Dionisio 5, Pascual 4, Reavis 4, Jalalon 1, Brill 0, Corpuz 0. 

Quarters: 21-14, 47-33, 72-53, 94-79.

– Rappler.com

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.