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MANILA, Philippines – Kelly Williams turned back the hands of time as TNT moved on the cusp of defending its PBA Philippine Cup throne following a 102-93 win over San Miguel at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, August 31.
The oldest player in the finals at 40 years old, K. Williams dropped a conference-high 21 points on top of 9 rebounds and 2 steals to help the Tropang Giga seize a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven affair.
Shooting a healthy 4-of-6 clip from long range, K. Williams hit key buckets down the stretch to prevent the Beermen from completing their comeback as San Miguel lost back-to-back games for the first time this conference.
The Beermen trailed by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter before they banked on Mo Tautuaa and Jericho Cruz to get within striking distance, 91-95, with less than three minutes left.
But TNT scored 5 straight points in the next two possessions capped by a K. Williams triple for a 100-91 advantage on the way to regaining control in the championship series.
Mikey Williams led the Tropang Giga in scoring with 23 points as he took charge for the defending champions after Jayson Castro went down with an ankle sprain in the third quarter.
A runner-up for the Best Player of the Conference honors, M. Williams dropped 12 points in the third period – all on three-pointers – that allowed TNT to build an 84-75 advantage going into the final salvo.
Poy Erram chimed in 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks off the bench, while Roger Pogoy added 14 points and 6 rebounds in the win.
Castro still finished with 8 points and 2 steals in 15 minutes before he sustained the injury after stepping on the foot of San Miguel guard Marcio Lassiter with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
“I thought we fought with a lot of courage,” said Tropang Giga head coach Chot Reyes as his side pulled through despite the absence of Castro, who usually closes the game for the squad.
June Mar Fajardo once again showed the way for the Beermen with 20 points and 16 rebounds.
TNT 102 – M. Williams 23, K. Williams 21, Erram 17, Castro 8, Rosario 6, Pogoy 5, Khobuntin 4, Marcelo 4, Montalbo 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 2.
San Miguel 93 – Fajardo 20, Cruz 16, Tautuaa 12, Perez 10, Manuel 10, Ross 9, Enciso 6, Brondial 6, Lassiter 4.
Quarters: 24-28, 53-50, 84-75, 102-93.