By REYNALD MAGALLON
What was absent in TNT’s game in the series opener resurfaced and became its greatest weapon once again.
The Tropang Giga regained their touch from the three-point territory as RR Pogoy and Mikey Williams caught fire late to take down the Barangay Ginebra Kings, 95-82, in Game 2 of best-of-seven Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, April 12.
Struggling to find the mark from the distance in Game 1 with only nine triples to show, TNT buried 15 triples with Pogoy and Williams accounting for eight of those – none more lethal in the final frame when the Tropang Giga pulled away for good to tie the series, 1-1.
It was however import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who keyed the pivotal 13-4 rally in the final five minutes finding his open teammates before putting on the exclamation point to the run with a tomahawk jam.
He flirted with a triple-double of 23 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists while Williams and Pogoy, who unloaded eight apiece in the final frame, added 21 and 17 points, respectively.
Aside from leading the attack for the Tropang Giga, Hollis-Jefferson also made life hard for Ginebra import Justin Brownlee who after erupting for 31 in the series opener, was limited to just 12 points on a measly 3-of-16 shooting from the field including a 0-of-5 clip from beyond the arc.
TNT also made sure to not fall to the same traps in Game 1, this time, seizing control of the contest and even took a commanding 41-25 lead.
Ginebra with its signature ‘Never-Say-Die’ spirit battled back and unleashed a 14-3 run to come within 44-39. TNT ended the first half on a 7-0 to restore a 12-point lead at the half, 51-39.
The Kings continued on with their assault in the second half spearheaded by Brownlee, Christian Standhardinger and Scottie Thompson to cut the lead down to just three, 67-64. Ginebra kept it close, 82-78, halfway through the final frame before TNT went on with its barrage of three-pointers to put the game away.
Standhardinger paced the Kings with 29 points and 11 rebounds while Jamie Malonzo added 17 points.
Thompson also finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a losing effort as the burden of adjustments now fall to the hands of the Kings heading into Game 3 on Friday, still at the Big Dome.
TNT 95 – Hollis-Jefferson 23, M.Williams 21, Pogoy 17, Oftana 14, Khobuntin 8, Castro 8, Erram 4, Montalbo 0, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
GINEBRA 82 – Standhardinger 29, Malonzo 17, Thompson 16, Brownlee 12, Pringle 5, Gray 3, Pinto 0, David 0, Mariano 0.
Quarters: 27-16, 51-39, 67-64, 95-82.