MANILA, Philippines – TNT booted NorthPort out of playoff contention in the PBA Governors’ Cup and in the process handed Phoenix the last quarterfinal berth after a 134-110 romp at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, March 15.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Roger Pogoy joined hands in a blistering second quarter for the Tropang Giga, who bucked a slow start to clinch their seventh straight win and solidified their hold of the top spot with a 9-1 card.
Hollis-Jefferson scattered 17 of his 31 points in the second frame as TNT exploded for 47 points in the period to mount a massive 66-43 lead at halftime.
Breaching the 30-point mark for the third time in four games, Hollis-Jefferson singlehandedly outscored the entire Batang Pier, who tallied just 16 points in the second salvo after leading 27-19 at the end of the opening quarter.
Pogoy also waxed hot in the second period, where he dropped 14 of his 22 points as TNT prevented NorthPort from forcing a playoff for the eighth and final quarterfinal spot.
The Batang Pier finished the conference at ninth place with a 3-8 record, allowing the Fuel Masters (4-7) to secure the only remaining playoff seat.
Hollis-Jefferson embellished his superb performance with 11 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists, while Pogoy added 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals in the rout that saw TNT enjoy a lead as big as 44 points.
The Tropang Giga kept their foot on the gas and dropped another 43 points in the third quarter to grab a 40-point, 109-69 advantage going into the final frame.
Calvin Oftana came off the bench and produced 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists in the win, including the pair of free throws that gave TNT its biggest lead of the game at 101-57.
Kelly Williams added 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Mikey Williams chimed in 9 points and 8 assists as the Tropang Giga found some semblance of redemption after a winless stint in the East Asia Super League Champions Week.
NorthPort import Kevin Murphy put up 35 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, falling short of his bid of leading the team to the playoffs after coming in as a replacement for Marcus Weathers.
The Batang Pier were 0-4 when they brought in Murphy, who ended his campaign with a 3-4 record.
Arvin Tolentino fired 19 points, Paul Zamar scored 15 points, while Robert Bolick posted 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists in the losing effort.
TNT 134 – Hollis-Jefferson 31, Pogoy 22, Oftana 16, K.Williams 12, M.Williams 9, Chua 8, Khobuntin 7, Tungcab 7, Montalbo 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Varilla 5, Castro 2, Cruz 2, Marcelo 1, Acuno 0.
NorthPort 110 – Murphy 35, Tolentino 19, Zamar 15, Bolick 14, Munzon 10, Caperal 5, Sumang 3, Chan 3, Taha 2, Calma 2, Ayaay 2, Salado 0, Vigil 0, Balagasay 0.
Quarters: 19-27, 66-43, 109-69, 134-110.
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