MANILA, Philippines – Jayson Castro came up clutch for TNT for the nth time, sinking the game-winner in a 93-92 escape over Magnolia in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, August 7.
Castro drained a three-pointer with 2.4 ticks left to cap a frantic final minute that saw two lead changes and one tie as the Tropang Giga seized a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven affair.
TNT led 90-88 off a Castro and-one before Hotshots veteran Mark Barroca stole the show by scoring back-to-back buckets to give Magnolia a 92-90 edge with 10 seconds remaining.
But Castro – who finished with 16 points and 6 assists – had other plans as he used Barroca as target for the go-ahead triple.
With Magnolia exhausting all of its timeouts, Paul Lee fired a half-court heave, which ultimately fell short.
Poy Erram led the way for the Tropang Giga with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks, while Glenn Khobuntin put up 15 points and 9 rebounds as he redeemed himself after going scoreless in the previous match.
Mikey Williams added 15 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds in the triumph, although he got limited to his lowest scoring output in the playoffs this conference and committed a whopping 7 turnovers.
Averaging 26.7 points in the playoffs, Williams shot 4-of-13 from the field and even missed a point-blank layup with a minute left that would have given TNT a four-point cushion.
But the Tropang Giga still pulled through as they capitalized on the early exit of Hotshots stars Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang.
Abueva chalked up 18 points on top of 6 assists and 5 rebounds but fouled out with 4:30 minutes remaining, while Sangalang tallied 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals before he picked up his final foul inside the last two minutes.
Barroca delivered 15 points and 5 rebounds in the loss.
TNT 93 – Erram 22, Castro 16, Khobuntin 15, M. Williams 15, Rosario 8, Pogoy 7, K. Williams 7, Montalbo 3, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Magnolia 92 – Abueva 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 15, Dionisio 10, Dela Rosa 9, Lee 9, Wong 6, Jalalon 4, Corpuz 2, Laput 2, Escoto 0.
Quarters: 18-24, 47-41, 66-73, 93-92.