TNT halts late SMB rally to force quarterfinals rubber match

MANILA, Philippines – The TNT KaTropa live on to fight another day in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals after turning back the San Miguel Beermen, 93-88, at the Araneta Coliseum on Monday, April 8.

RR Pogoy led TNT with 20 points – 17 coming in the first half alone – while Jayson Castro bounced back from a forgettable Game 1 performance with 19 points, including the deciding layup in the clutch, plus 9 assists.

"We're just lucky we just tied the series. Nothing to celebrate [about]," KaTropa head coach Bong Ravena said.

"Our goal is to stay in the series hoping to win tonight. Nothing to celebrate. San Miguel played really, really well, and good thing our outside shots were falling."

After going down by as many as 11 points, the Beermen kept their cool and inched within 2, 78-80, after a split free throw trip by Christian Standhardinger midway through the 4th.

However, San Miguel suffered a big blow two possessions later as reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo suffered an inadvertent head hit and an apparent left knee injury during a rebound battle.

Fajardo eventually returned and bullied his way to an 86-all tie at the 1:43 mark.

However, Troy Rosario halted San Miguel's comeback rally with a corner three-pointer for the 89-86 lead with 66 ticks left. Rosario ended up with 15 points, 13 coming in the second half alone.

Castro followed that up with a crafty layup at the 26-second mark to effectively put the game away for the KaTropa.

Fajardo saw his massive 26-point, 19-rebound double-double go to waste, while Standhardinger chipped in 18 markers off the bench.

Now tied at 1-1, TNT has a shot to oust the reigning four-time Philippine Cup champions in Game 3 on Wednesday, April 10, at the same venue.

The Scores

TNT 93 - Pogoy 20, Castro 19, Rosario 15, Trollano 12, Reyes 9, Washington 5, Semerad, A. 4, Williams 4, Taha 4, Heruela 1, Carey 0.

San Miguel 88 - Fajardo 26, Standhardinger 18, Cabagnot 16, Romeo 12, Ross 6, Lassiter 5, Santos 5, Tubid 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Nabong 0, Pessumal 0.

Quarters: 20-19, 54-43, 73-68, 93-88.

Rappler.com