MANILA, Philippines – Mikey Williams caught fire early anew and propelled TNT to a wire-to-wire 108-96 win over Magnolia in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, August 3.
Williams poured in 18 of his game-high 26 points in the first half to key the Tropang Giga to a sizable halftime advantage as they drew first blood in the best-of-seven series.
Erupting for 22 second-quarter points in their quarterfinal rout of Converge, the Filipino-American star scattered 12 points in the second period against the Hotshots for a 54-37 lead going into the break.
Roger Pogoy then picked up where Williams left off as he dropped 15 of his 23 points in the last two quarters as TNT savored a lead as big as 24 points.
Williams also finished with 5 rebounds and 4 assists, Pogoy added 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Glenn Khobuntin provided a big boost off the bench with 18 points and 7 rebounds.
“I commend my team for how we picked up the charge and really took it to them in the second half,” said Williams. “But we have to sustain for the full 48 [minutes].”
“I feel like we had too many lapses today, but this was a good Game 1.”
The Tropang Giga also banked on Jayson Castro early as he finished with 12 points – 10 coming in the first half – on top of 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Although Magnolia also spread the wealth with five players scoring in double figures, its slow start proved costly against a hot-shooting TNT side.
While Tropang Giga already had two players in twin digits at halftime (Williams and Castro), no Hotshots player breached double figures after the first two quarters.
Calvin Abueva paced Magnolia with 18 points and 8 rebounds, Jio Jalalon put up 14 points and 8 assists, while Aris Dionisio and Ian Sangalang added 14 points apiece and connived for 20 rebounds.
Magnolia veterans Paul Lee and Mark Barroca struggled to find their rhythm as they scored just 9 and 7 points, respectively, on a combined 6-of-18 clip in the loss.
TNT 108 – M. Williams 26, Pogoy 23, Khobuntin 18, Castro 12, Montalbo 8, Erram 6, K. Williams 4, Marcelo 4, Tungcab 3, Rosario 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Alejandro 0, Cruz 0.
Magnolia 96 – Abueva 18, Sangalang 14, Jalalon 14, Dionisio 14, Laput 12, Lee 9, Barroca 7, Dela Rosa 5, Wong 2, Reavis 1, Zaldivar 0, Corpuz 0.
Quarters: 28-19, 54-37, 86-66, 108-96