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PBA: It’s TNT in Game 1

Game Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs San Miguel
(TNT leads series 1-0)

Import Joshua Smith bucked a recurring right foot injury by scoring the winning basket in the dying seconds as TNT KaTropa survived San Miguel, 104-102, last night to draw first blood in their best-of-seven series for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

TNT's Jayson Castro goes for a layup against San Miguel's Chris Ross and June Mar Fajardo  (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

TNT’s Jayson Castro goes for a layup against San Miguel’s Chris Ross and June Mar Fajardo (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Smith fired a baby hook off June Mar Fajardo with 1.6 seconds remaining that enabled the KaTropa to pull off an escape act after their 10-point lead disappeared following two free throws by the Beermen’s Chris Ross on the previous possession.

The 6-foot-10 Smith, who went to the locker room in the third quarter for treatment on his foot that he hurt in the semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, finished with 21 points and nine rebounds for TNT.

Rookie Roger Pogoy almost became the major star in TNT’s opening act. He erupted for 13 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter, including two huge triples that put the KaTropa ahead 95-85.

San Miguel countered with a 14-4 run, only to see Jayson Castro unload a left elbow three to make it 102-99 TNT, 44 seconds to go.

The Beermen made one final push to force overtime, with Rhodes splitting a pair and Ross tying the contest for the final off a Pogoy foul with 7.2 remaining.

TNT appeared to have designed a play for Castro, but was denied by Ross, leaving Smith to go for the win.

ROS BRINGING IN EUROPEAN VETERAN

Meanwhile, Rain or Shine is likely to hire James Weatherspoon as its reinforcement for the season-ending Governors’ Cup.

A Rain or Shine source said the 6-foot-5 Weatherspoon is arriving this Sunday, and hopefully iron out details of his contract for the team co-owned by Raymond Yu and Terry Que.

Though left undrafted during the 2015 NBA Rookie Draft, Weatherspoon did well in his European stint – the last in the Norwegian BLNO where he played for Baerum Basket.

“He’s a prolific scorer so we’re hoping to sign him up,” the source added.

Apart from posting a second-best 25.1 points average per contest, Weatherspoon emerged as the team’s leading rebounder with 12. 2 caroms a game.

The ROS Painters are hoping to rebound after their failure to defend their crown in the ongoing tournament.

Scores:
TNT 104 – Pogoy 27, Smith 21, Castro 14, Garcia 13, Rosario 10, Tautuaa 7, Semerad 5, Williams 5, Rosales 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Nuyles 0.

SAN MIGUEL 102 – Rhodes 31, Fajardo 18, Cabagnot 16, Ross 11, Santos 11, Lassiter 8, De Ocampo 6, Espinas 1, Tubid 0.

Quarterscores: 24-31, 56-51, 75-73, 104-102.

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