MANILA, Philippines – TNT got its foot in the quarterfinal door of the PBA Governors’ Cup following a 127-107 whipping of also-ran Terrafirma at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, March 9.
Import Aaron Fuller showed the way with 24 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals as the Tropang Giga earned their fourth straight win and remained in the hunt for a twice-to-beat playoff bonus.
Carrying a 6-4 card, TNT can formalize its quarterfinal entry with a win over NorthPort in the final game of the elimination round on Friday, March 11.
The Tropang Giga banked on a balanced scoring attack with four of their local players scoring in double figures.
Mikey Williams churned out 16 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals, while Jayson Castro put up 15 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals in the win that saw TNT shake off a pesky Dyip crew in the second half.
Terrafirma trailed by just 8 points at halftime, 53-61, but that deficit more than doubled at 90-71 as Glenn Khobuntin sunk a triple for the Tropang Giga late in the third quarter.
Although Ed Daquioag and JP Calvo knocked down back-to-back triples to pull the Dyip within 13 points at the end of the third period, the Tropang Giga never let up and maintained their double-digit lead for the entire fourth canto.
Kib Montalbo delivered 12 points, 7 coming in the first quarter, 4 assists, and 3 steals in the win, while Poy Erram added 12 another 12 points.
Import Antonio Hester once again took charge with 30 points and 13 rebounds for Terrafirma, which ended the conference with a 2-9 card and finished at 11th place.
TNT 127 – Fuller 24, M. Williams 16, Castro 15, Montalbo 12, Erram 12, Rosario 9, Pogoy 8, K. Williams 8, Reyes 7, Khobuntin 7, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Marcelo 3, Cruz 0, Heruela 0, Alejandro 0, Banal 0.
Terrafirma 107 – Hester 30, Daquioag 19, Munzon 16, Batiller 9, Calvo 9, Cahilig 8, Go 5, Pascual 4, Ramos 4, Balagasay 3, Camson 0.
Quarters: 30-23, 61-53, 90-77, 127-107.