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Tropang Giga halt Batang Pier, gain twice-to-beat quarters edge

Olmin Leyba - Philstar.com
Tropang Giga halt Batang Pier, gain twice-to-beat quarters edge
Mikey Williams gunned in 29 points spiked by five-of-eight 3-point shooting, making 19 in TNT's second-half breakaway.
PBA Images

Games Thursday (DHVSU Gym, Bacolor)
2 p.m. – Terrafirma vs Meralco
4:35 p.m. – Blackwater vs NLEX

MANILA, Philippines – Pacesetting TNT stopped streaking NorthPort on its track, 102-92, to capture the No. 1 seeding and the prized quarterfinal incentive in the PBA Philippine Cup in Bacolor, Pampanga Wednesday.

The Tropang Giga unleashed an array of heroes led by gunner Mikey Williams and energizer Kib Montalbo to take the fight out of the Batang Pier and storm to their third straight win and 9-1 overall.

NorthPort, which swept its three assignments last week, fell to 4-4 on the day coach Pido Jarencio returned to call the shots at the Don Honorio Ventura State U Gym after spending time in quarantine.

Regardless of the outcome of its last elims assignment against Alaska on Saturday, TNT has already taken prime position in the playoffs, armed with the win-once bonus against the No. 8.

“In any tournament, you want to grab any advantage that you can. This means we’ll have an advantage but that advantage won’t mean anything if we don’t take advantage of that,” said coach Chot Reyes.

“Of course, we’d rather be twice-to-beat than needing to beat somebody twice. But the job is far, far from over,” he added.

Sustaining his hot scoring in Bacolor, Williams gunned in 29 points spiked by five-of-eight 3-point shooting, making 19 in TNT's second-half breakaway.

Montalbo erupted with a career-high 22 markers highlighted by a 4-of-6 marksmanship from the deep, aside from helping hound NorthPort star Robert Bolick.

Troy Rosario (18), Kelly Williams (11) and Jayson Castro (nine) joined the scoring fray.

The five took turns hitting the big shots as TNT wiped out an early 22-32 deficit, wrested control with a 34-23 exchange in the third, and fended off the Batang Pier's fourth-quarter rally.

With Bolick held to 12, Paolo Taha took the cudgels with 20 for the Batang Pier, who missed key players Sean Anthony (bone spurs) and Greg Slaughter (bacterial infection) due to injuries.

The scores:

TNT 102 – M. Williams 29, Montalbo 22, Rosario 18, K. Williams 11, Castro 9, Reyes 6, Heruela 4, Pogoy 3, Erram 0, Alejandro 0, Marcelo 0, Mendoza 0.

NorthPort 92 – Taha 20, Ferrer 17, Malonzo 15, Bolick 12, Grey 10 Onwubere 9, Balanza 4, Lanete 4, Elorde 1, Rike 0.

Quarterscores: 19-22, 42-41, 76-64, 102-92.

NORTHPORT PBA TNT TROPANG GIGA
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