TNT rode on the backs of Mikey Williams and Kib Montalbo to send NorthPort crashing back to earth with a 102-92 win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga on Wednesday, September 15.
Williams led the way for the Tropang Giga anew with 29 points on a healthy 5-of-8 clip from three-point range to go with 5 assists as they locked up the twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals with a 9-1 record.
Montalbo, meanwhile, formed a potent one-two punch with Williams after submitting arguably the finest game of his PBA career with 22 points off 4 triples on top of 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Batang Pier trimmed their double-digit deficit to just 7 points, 80-87, with hopes of extending their three-game winning streak until Williams and Montalbo conspired to help TNT break away.
Montalbo scored 6 points and dished out 2 assists, while Williams delivered 5 points in a decisive 13-3 run as TNT enjoyed its biggest lead of the game and shut all doors on any possible NorthPort comeback.
Troy Rosario put up 18 points and 6 rebounds in the win, while Kelly Williams churned out 9 points and 4 rebounds.
For the second straight game, the Batang Pier missed the services of seven-footer Greg Slaughter, who suffered from a bacterial infection.
Still, NorthPort started strong and even led by as many as 10 points early in the second quarter.
But it did not take long for the Tropang Giga to get hot from deep as Williams and Rosario linked up to give their side a slim 42-41 advantage going into the halftime break.
Paolo Taha topscored in the loss with 20 points, while Kevin Ferrer fired 17 points off a 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.
Robert Bolick struggled from the field with 12 points on a poor 3-of-16 clip as the Batang Pier fell to 4-4.
TNT 102 – M. Williams 29, Montalbo 22, Rosario 18, K. Williams 11, Castro 9, Reyes 6, Heruela 4, Pogoy 3, Erram 0, Alejandro 0, Marcelo 0, Mendoza 0.
NorthPort 92 – Taha 20, Ferrer 17, Malonzo 15, Bolick 12, Grey 10, Onwubere 9, Balanza 4, Lanete 4, Elorde 1.
Quarters: 19-22, 42-41, 76-64, 102-92.