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Texters get back at Kings; Bolts eye clincher

Kelly Williams of TnT Texters sneaks in an arm to stop a driving Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra during Game 2 of their semifinal showdown before a full house in Batangas City.     ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO

MANILA, Philippines — The TNT KaTropa locals put up a brave front as import Glenn Rice Jr. went into foul trouble and fought all the way to a 103-96 victory over Barangay Ginebra to forge a deadlock after two games of their PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal showdown at the Batangas City Coliseum last night.

Jason Castro, Troy Rosario, RR Pogoy, Kelly Williams and Moala Tautuaa weathered the Gin Kings’ storm from the second quarter to the early part of the third period and keyed TNT’s bounce-back triumph from a 94-121 blowout loss in the series opener Monday.

The two teams dispute the pivotal 2-1 lead in their series in Game Three back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a Meralco team fired up by stirring triumphs in its last three games goes for the jugular versus an embattled Star side, taking the first of its three cracks at a finals slot at the Big Dome tonight.

A victory by the Bolts in the 7 p.m. setto will end the Hotshots’ season and give Meralco a second straight finals stint in the season-ending tourney.

After surviving a scare by eighth seed Blackwater in the quarterfinals, the Bolts have gone on a roll and now have a chance to put the Hotshots away via a sweep in their own best-of-five Final Four faceoff.

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Castro sizzled with 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, Rosario came through with 16 markers, eight boards, two dish-offs and two steals while Pogoy got 14 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal as the Texters withstood the Gin Kings even with their import limited to 22 minutes of action due to fouls.

Tautuaa contributed 10 points and five rebounds while Williams chipped in 11 boards and seven markers for the Texters who gutted it out to prevent the Kings from taking a commanding 2-0 series lead.

“They beat us on hustle plays the last time, and so we focused on playing defense and getting the rebounds in this game. We got back at them by playing with a tremendous amount of energy,” said Castro.

The Texters outworked and outhustled the Gin Kings as TNT seized control early and established an early big lead at 33-15.

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