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Sports

TNT draws first blood tropa blast hotshots with relentless effort

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
TNT draws first blood tropa blast hotshots with relentless effort
TNT center Poy Erram attacks the defense of Magnolia forward Calvin Abueva during the first half of Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
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MANILA, Philippines — With a mighty show of force, TNT struck the first blow against Magnolia.

The in-form Tropang Giga pounded the Hotshots on both ends relentlessly to take Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals with plenty to spare, 88-70, last night in Bacolor, Pampanga.

As if picking up from their semis closeout romp against San Miguel Beer, the Tropang Giga overwhelmed the Hotshots with an early barrage to seize an initial 20-2 tear.

With a combo of stifling defense and good shooting, the troops of coach Chot Reyes further stretched their lead to as high as 22 in the second (43-21) and 32 (73-41) in the third.

“Our entire objective coming in was to make sure we execute our game plan both offensively and defensively. But I thought the most important thing was to match their effort,” said Reyes.

“Magnolia really comes with a lot of energy and effort so our focus was to match that, and we’re able to do that tonight,” added Reyes, whose team will gun for a 2-nil lead in the race-to-four contest tomorrow.

Rookie Mikey Williams caught fire and rifled in a game-high 21 points highlighted by a 5-of-6 three-point marksmanship with 10 rebounds and five assists. Poy Erram chipped in 14 markers and Kelly Williams added 10 in a match where RR Pogoy and Castro didn’t need to score much. Pogoy finished with seven while Castro only netted a single point.

TNT made Magnolia bleed for points as the Hotshots went 20-of-73 (27 percent) all game. The Hotshots’ Big 3 of Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva coughed up 12, 11 and five, respectively.

The Tropang Giga set the tone for the runaway triumph with a dominant opening period, where they held the Hotshots to only 14 markers on a woeful 4-of-20 field goal shooting.

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