PBA Philippine Cup

Castro buzzer-beater lifts TNT to photo-finish win over San Miguel in Game 1

Delfin Dioquino

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Castro buzzer-beater lifts TNT to photo-finish win over San Miguel in Game 1

CLUTCH. Jayson Castro lives up to his reputation as the primary closer for TNT.

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Jayson Castro bails TNT out for the nth time as they draw first blood against San Miguel in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals

MANILA, Philippines – Crunch time is Jayson Castro time.

Castro beat the buzzer with a game-winning shot to lift TNT to a photo-finish 86-84 victory over San Miguel in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, August 21.

With the Tropang Giga left with just 1.6 ticks to pull off an escape, Castro released the go-ahead jumper over Simon Enciso just before the final buzzer sounded as the reigning champions drew first blood in the best-of-seven series.

Castro, who finished with 15 points and 3 rebounds, bailed TNT for the nth time as he also nailed the game-winning triple in Game 3 of their semifinals series against Magnolia.

The shot preserved the efforts of Roger Pogoy and Mikey Williams, who conspired in their third-quarter explosion where the Tropang Giga outscored the Beermen 33-15.

Riding on June Mar Fajardo, San Miguel led 53-41 early in the third period before Pogoy and Williams combined for 18 points in a 25-7 blast that gave TNT a 66-60 lead.

Pogoy finished with 26 points and 3 rebounds, while Williams chalked up 21 points – with 12 coming in the third frame alone – and 4 rebounds.

The Tropang Giga stretched their lead to double digits at 79-69, but the Beermen chipped away at their deficit and knotted the score at 84-84 off a Vic Manuel and-one with less than a minute remaining.

However, San Miguel bungled its chance at taking the upper hand as it committed a shot-clock violation, with CJ Perez air-balling a last-second three-pointer despite the team having a timeout left to set up a play.

Poy Erram chimed in 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals in the win, while Glenn Khobuntin added 8 points, including a pair of timely treys in the fourth quarter.

Fajardo put San Miguel on his back with 24 points, 16 rebounds, and 2 blocks, but those numbers went down the drain as the Beermen squandered a lead as big as 15 points.

Perez had 21 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals in the loss, which saw only three San Miguel scorers in double figures, with Jericho Cruz the only other Beermen player in twin digits with 10 points.

The best offensive team in the PBA, San Miguel usually spreads the wealth as five of its players average double figures in scoring this conference.

The Scores

TNT 86 – Pogoy 26, M.Williams 21, Castro 15, Erram 9, Khobuntin 8, Reyes 6, Rosario 1, Montalbo 0, K.Williams 0, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.

San Miguel 84 – Fajardo 24, Perez 21, Cruz 10, Tautuaa 6, Manuel 6, Lassiter 5, Brondial 4, Enciso 3, Ross 2.

Quarters: 16-21, 37-49, 70-64, 86-84.

– 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.