PBA Governors' Cup

Mikey Williams detonates as TNT escapes Ginebra in Game 6 to claim PBA Governors’ Cup crown

Delfin Dioquino

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Mikey Williams detonates as TNT escapes Ginebra in Game 6 to claim PBA Governors’ Cup crown

STAR. Mikey Williams in action for the TNT Tropang Giga in the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup.

PBA Images

(1st UPDATE) Mikey Williams hosts a three-point party as TNT wins the last three games of the PBA Governors' Cup finals to deny Ginebra a three-peat in the season-ending conference

MANILA, Philippines – Mikey Williams saved the best for last and propelled TNT to its first-ever PBA Governors’ Cup crown following a 97-93 win over Barangay Ginebra in Game 6 at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, April 21.

Williams unloaded a season-high 38 points off nine three-pointers as the Tropang Giga won the last three games of the best-of-seven finals to deny the Gin Kings a three-peat in the season-ending conference.

The Filipino-American guard displayed steely nerves down the stretch, knocking down a gutsy triple with 1:15 minutes left that gave TNT the lead for good, 95-93, before import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson put on the finishing touches.

Hollis-Jefferson iced the win-sealing free throws with mere seconds to go and chalked up 29 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals for his first professional title.

Guided by PBA legend Jojo Lastimosa, the Tropang Giga claimed their ninth crown in franchise history to tie the fabled Toyota franchise for sixth place in the all-time list.

Lastimosa for his part earned his first PBA championship as head coach at the expense of his former mentor Tim Cone, who guided Ginebra to titles in four of the last five Governors’ Cup.

The defeat marked the first time the Gin Kings lost in a championship series with Justin Brownlee after previously going 6-0 with the three-time Best Import when they reached the finals.

“I’m greatly honored. Seldom do you beat Justin Brownlee and Tim Cone in this conference. They own this. They own the Governors’ Cup,” said Lastimosa.

“And if there is somebody who can dethrone them, they must have done something really nice.”

Tested in every possible way, TNT overcame a double-digit deficit in the first half and held off an inspired Ginebra comeback in the fourth quarter.

Reigning MVP Scottie Thompson went on a personal 9-0 run midway through the second frame to help the Gin Kings mount their largest lead of the game at 44-33 before Williams caught fire from three-point distance.

Williams sank five triples in the second period and tallied 26 first-half points as the Tropang Giga entered the break trailing by just 3 points, 48-51.

TNT seized the upper hand at the end of the third salvo, 77-73, and even led by as big as 84-77 with seven minutes left.

Ginebra, though, refused to go away, unloading a 16-8 blast sparked and capped by dunks from Jamie Malonzo to regain the lead at 93-92.

But Williams – who won Finals MVP – saved the day for the Tropang Giga as he banked in a trey over Christian Standhardinger, much to the chagrin of the Gin Kings hopeful who made up most of the 13,588 fans in attendance.

Williams’ explosion could not have come at a better time as he and Hollis-Jefferson ended up as the only TNT players to score in double figures.

Usual contributors Calvin Oftana and Jayson Castro were limited to just 6 points apiece on a combined 5-of-17 shooting.

“Mikey balled out,” Lastimosa said. “If you take away the 38 [points] of Mikey, oh my God, we will not survive this game.”

Back in his deadly form after exiting Game 6 due to food poisoning, Brownlee churned out 29 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks, although he fumbled his chances of tying the game late.

With Ginebra well within striking distance, Brownlee turned the ball over and missed the potential game-tying jumper in back-to-back possessions inside the last 35 seconds.

Malonzo posted 21 points and 6 rebounds in the loss, Thompson had 20 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds, while Standhardinger put up 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.

The Scores

TNT 97 – M. Williams 38, Hollis-Jefferson 29, Erram 6, Oftana 6, Castro 6, K. Williams 4, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Montalbo 3, Khobuntin 1.

Ginebra 93 – Brownlee 29, Malonzo 21, Thompson 20, Standhardinger 16, Gray 4, Pinto 2, J.Aguilar 1, Mariano 0, Pringle 0.

Quarters: 20-27, 48-51, 77-73, 97-93. 

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.