BACOLOR -- The TNT Tropang Giga on Sunday, October 3, 2021, took the first of seven semifinal games in their tussle with the San Miguel Beermen, 89-88, in cliff-hanger fashion of the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym here.
Taking to the court sans lead center Kelly Williams RR Pogoy, Jayson Castro, Poy Erram and Troy Rosario sizzled as Tropang Giga made a key run to close out the third period and doused the Beermen's strong endgame fire to draw first blood in the race-to-four-games series.
"It's all about effort, and the key was us believing that we can win even in the absence of Kelly," said TNT coach Chot Reyes in a statement on the PBA website.
"Most important really was to believe, and it showed in the way we played tonight. No one individual can fill the shoes of Kelly. It took us a superhuman effort to beat this strong San Miguel team," Reyes added.
"Sobrang hirap. Kailangan talaga A-game para talunin ang San Miguel," said Pogoy, standing out with 23 points that went with three rebounds, two assists and two steals, and who himself shone for TNT with his good defense in the dying seconds against Marcio Lassiter's make-or-break offense .
TNT's job included forcing the Beermen to 23 turnovers from where the Tropang Giga produced 23 markers.
The Beermen failed to run a good play, though, and eventually lost the game on a missed drive by Lassiter in the waning seconds.
"San Miguel can beat you in so many ways. We just said let's play straight up defense, put up our best defensive effort and let's see what happens," said Reyes on their defense in San Miguel's last play.
"The only way we can beat this team is for us to put in a stronger effort. Sobrang lakas nila. If we give a little more effort, then we have a chance. All we've done is give us a 1-0 lead and we need three more wins. Hopefully, we can sustain it," Reyes said. (JTD)