TNT 103 – Ginebra 96, TNT ties the series 1-1
The TNT KaTropa learned from their mistake in the first game. They refused to let Ginebra get off to a hot start as they smothered them defensively while executing cleanly on offense.
The KaTropa reversed the roles on Ginebra as they were the ones forcing turnovers and running up the floor for easy baskets. They trapped the Ginebra ball handlers and forced them into bad passes. These passes turned into interceptions which were converted into dunks and layups on the other end. In the halfcourt set-up, TNT was swinging the ball all over the place. They found cutters and open shooters in the right spots, setting them up for good looks at the hoop. They rushed out to a 31-14 first quarter lead and eventually built that up to as high as 18 points, 33-15, early in the second period.
Ginebra woke up midway through the quarter. They started to execute better and found the open man on their drives to the hoop. Their insistence to attack inside paid off as Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Justin Brownlee found their groove to help cut the 18-point deficit down to just two points heading into the half. Ginebra even took a brief lead 51-50 off a Japeth Aguilar jumper early in the third quarter. Unfortunately, Ginebra couldn’t sustain their run in the second half.
Jasyson Castro led the KaTropa back to a double-digit lead in the third quarter. TNT rebuilt that lead using a purely local squad as Glen Rice Jr. was on the bench saddled with foul trouble. The KaTropa relied on their defense to once again speed up the game. That gave RR Pogoy, Mo Tautuaa and Troy Rosario easy baskets on the other end. In the fourth quarter, Rice Jr. took over. He scored nine points in the final period hitting bombs from beyond the arc to keep Ginebra at bay.
Five players scored in double figures for TNT led by Rice Jr. with 21 points and three treys. Castro scored 20 points and dished out 10 assists. Rosario scored 16 points while Pogoy had 14. Mo Tautuaa had 10 points and four offensive rebounds. Justin Brownlee scored 25 points while Batangas native LA Tenorio contributed 17.