The TNT Tropang Giga left nothing up to chance in Game 3 of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals after dominating the San Miguel Beermen, 115-98, at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Friday, October 8.
TNT flexed a trifecta of 20-point finishes from its stars in the lopsided win, led by RR Pogoy’s 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting, and Poy Erram’s huge 21-marker, 13-rebound double-double that put the game out of question from buzzer to buzzer.
Mikey Williams, who was previously checked by the Beermen’s stingy veteran defenders like Chris Ross, finally broke out of his slump with a well-rounded line of 20 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists.
Fresh off a heartbreaking 96-98 loss courtesy of a Marcio Lassiter buzzer-beating layup, TNT jumped the gun early on with an 11-0 start, and never looked back, as they held on to a double-digit lead for pretty much the entire game.
The Beermen last trailed by single digits with 8:08 in the second quarter, after two June Mar Fajardo free throws that were promptly negated with a Kib Montalbo triple in the next possession.
From there, the Tropang Giga burial only got deeper and deeper as they peaked with a 25-point lead, 101-76, off a Williams triple that capped off a personal 7-3 run by the 7:36 mark of the final frame.
“We cannot be better than [San Miguel] in terms of talent or size, so we just focused on putting in better effort. More effort, better collaboration, teamwork, communication, and I think in the end, that’s what happened,” said head coach Chot Reyes after the game.
Terrence Romeo followed up his heroic 26-point eruption in Game 2 with 22 markers and 7 rebounds in the sorry loss, while Fajardo churned out a 14-point, 10-board double-double with 4 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal.
TNT will now gun for a commanding 3-1 lead on Sunday, October 10, 2 pm, as San Miguel aims to take the best-of-seven series back to square on with an equalizing win.
TNT 115 – Pogoy 26, Erram 21, Williams 20, Montalbo 11, Castro 9, Heruela 4, Khobuntin 4, Reyes 2, Marcelo 2, Mendoza 2, Exciminiano 0, Alejandro 0, Javier 0.
San Miguel 98 – Romeo 22, Fajardo 14, Perez 14, Cabagnot 12, Tautuaa 11, Santos 9, Pessumal 5, Ross 3, Lassiter 3, Gamalinda 3, Zamar 2, Gotladera 0, Comboy 0.
Quarters: 29-20, 54-42, 85-68, 115-98.