Tropa halfway through

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Tropa halfway through
TNT ace rookie Mikey Williams takes a floater against Magnolia center Ian Sangalang.
STAR / File

17 treys highlight TNT’S surge to 2-0 lead

MANILA, Philippines — TNT did an encore of its scorching Game 1 performance and now stands at the halfway point of its dream destination.

With Mikey Williams flirting with a triple-double, the Tropang Giga reasserted their mastery of the Magnolia Hotshots, 105-93, to go 2-0 in the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven series last night in Bacolor, Pampanga.

In a strong follow-up to his stellar finals debut last Wednesday, rookie ace Williams rifled in 28 points to go with nine rebounds and six assists to lead TNT to a repeat of its 88-70 opening rout.

Williams, who topscored with 21 last time,  made five of his nine attempts from beyond the arc as he anchored the Tropang Giga to a whopping 17 triples overall, including a finals record 13 in the first half.

Veteran Jayson Castro complemented Williams with 16 while Troy Rosario added 12 and backup guard Brian Heruela chipped in 11 spiked by three treys. Kelly Williams, playing through back injury, had five rebounds and three points in 22 minutes of play.

“It’s all about execution, the selflessness and willingness of the players to find the open man,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes, whose troops can get on the hill in tomorrow’s Game 3.

The prolific Williams started things off for TNT, banging in 10 first-quarter points as TNT surged to a 40-27 tear.  And when the rallying Magnolia threatened within four in the fourth, Williams bailed them out with two triples and a bucket in a 10-3 counter that restored a fresh 11-point margin.

Ian Sangalang, also nursing back spasm, bounced back from his five-point output in Game 1 with a 25-point, eight-rebound outing in the second game.

After falling behind by as many as 21, the Hotshots made a serious run for it with a huge 29-20 third-quarter explosion.

“We knew it (hot shooting) is not going to last (the entire game); in the end, we’re still going to need to depend and rely on our defense to win the game,” said Reyes.

“And that’s what happened.”

They further threatened to within four at 86-90 with still 7:41 left in the fourth but then Williams and the Tropang Giga quickly countered with a strong finishing kick to finish them off.

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