The TNT Tropang Giga got back to their winning ways with an emphatic 100-85 blowout win over sister team NLEX Road Warriors at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Friday, September 10.
Super rookie Mikey Williams reset his career-high with 36 big points on 13-of-20 shooting and 5-of-9 three-pointers, with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Despite a hot first half where the younger Williams dropped 19 of his 36 points, NLEX was still well within control at the 8:02 mark of the third quarter after Don Trollano drained a three for the 59-all tie.
However, that was as near as the Road Warriors would get as TNT detonated with a huge 20-5 response in the next six minutes, capped by consecutive triples from Williams and Poy Erram for the 79-64 lead with 2:25 left in the period.
NLEX was unable to mount a late comeback as TNT peaked with a 24-point lead, 100-76, with 1:43 left in regulation, ending with a rainbow trey from Williams for his 36th point.
Fellow guards Kib Montalbo and RR Pogoy were distant seconds to their new teammate with 13 points apiece, while Erram and Kelly Williams each chipped in 10 markers.
With the win, TNT remains on top of the standings with a 7-1 record, and would clinch a quarterfinals berth with a win by the San Miguel Beermen later in the day. Meanwhile, NLEX is now on a two-game skid, settling with a 4-4 slate.
“We talked about matching the intensity of NLEX in the first half. We knew they were going to come out hard after their last game, so our focus was just to match their intensity in the first half,” said head coach Chot Reyes in the postgame presser.
“We knew they came from a double overtime game, and we thought if we could stay with them eventually our pace would wear them down. I think that’s what happened.”
Kevin Alas paced the loss with 16 points on just a 6-of-17 clip, and 0-of-7 from downtown, while Trollano and Michael Miranda added 14 markers, respectively.
TNT will try to restart its winning streak with a blockbuster game on Sunday, September 12, 4:35 pm, against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, while NLEX aims to end its skid that same day against the in-form NorthPort Batang Pier at 7 pm.
TNT 100 – M. Williams 36, Montalbo 13, Pogoy 13, K. Williams 10, Erram 10, Rosario 7, Reyes 4, Heruela 4, Marcelo 3, Castro 0, Alejandro 0, Javier 0, Mendoza 0.
NLEX 85 – Alas 16, Miranda 14, Trollano 14, Oftana 11, Quinahan 9, Cruz 8, Semerad 5, Porter 5, Paniamogan 3, Soyud 0.
Quarters: 23-26, 47-49, 80-68, 100-85.
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