MANILA, Philippines – TNT banked on a blazing first-half showing to crush Converge, 116-95, and punch its semifinals ticket in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, July 27.
Star guard Mikey Williams unloaded 26 points to lead five players in double figures as the twice-to-beat Tropang Giga mounted a 28-point halftime lead to immediately end the FiberXers’ first playoff run in franchise history.
In arguably the most impressive performance by a player in a single quarter this conference, Williams put TNT on his back with 22 points in the second period – an explosion that essentially took the fight out of Converge.
Williams’ 22 points alone built on a perfect 4-of-4 clip from deep matched the FiberXers’ output in the second frame as the defending champions erupted for 40 points in the quarter to enjoy a 70-42 lead going into the break.
That lead grew to as big as 33 points midway through the final salvo even as Tropang Giga head coach Chot Reyes pulled out his starters and brought in his reserves.
Coming back from a six-game absence caused by a knee injury, Troy Rosario put up 18 points and 7 rebounds for TNT, while Roger Pogoy chalked up 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
Jayson Castro provided 15 points off the bench and Kelly Williams chimed in 10 points and 4 rebounds for the Tropang Giga, who have won seven of their last eight games.
The rout saw the TNT shoot the lights out as it fired 53% (40-of-76) from the field and 46% from three-point land, although it struggled from the free throw line after going 20-of-34 (59%).
Rookie Tyrus Hill paced the seventh-seed Converge with 18 points, while Abu Tratter delivered a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Mike DiGregorio added 14 points in the losing effort.
TNT 116 – M.Williams 26, Rosario 18, Pogoy 16, Castro 15, K.Williams 10, Montalbo 9, Erram 7, Tungcab 5, Banal 5, Khobuntin 3, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Marcelo 0, Alejandro 0, Cruz 0.
Converge 95 – Hill 18, DiGregorio 15, Murrell 11, Tratter 10, Ahanmisi 10, Arana 8, Racal 5, Tolomia 5, Adamos 4, Stockton 3, Ambohot 3, Ilagan 2, Bulanadi 2, Browne 0.
Quarters: 30-20, 70-42, 97-67, 116-95.