by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:30 p.m. – San Miguel vs Rain or Shine
6:45 p.m. – Ginebra vs Alaska
Manila, Philippines – Jayson Castro scored eight of his 20 points in the third quarter as TNT KaTropa closed in on a semifinals berth with a 109-101 victory over GlobalPort yesterday in Game 1 of their best-of-three quarterfinal series in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Castro’s offensive burst came after TNT, which overcame a slow start to take control of the game and eventually move a win shy of advancing to the semis of the league’s second-opening conference.
Larry Fonacier scored 17 points spiked by five triples while Mo Tautuaa also had the same number of points to go with his nine rebounds for the Nash Racela-coached KaTropa, who can sweep the series with a victory tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Terrence Romeo finished with 28 points while Stanley Pringle added 19 for the Batang Pier.
Meanwhile, Beau Belga is hoping for some divine intervention to help underdog Rain or Shine topple a giant that is the top seed and twice-to-beat San Miguel Beermen today in the two quarterfinal matches slated today at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The Elasto Painters claimed the eighth and final quarters berth last Friday after routing the Blackwater Elite, 103-80. That prompted Belga to make a bold statement ahead of the 4:30 p.m. showdown with the Beermen.
“Sana sa Sunday may anghel ulit na sumapi,” Belga told reporters after Friday’s game. “Di naman swertihan yun, ikaw gagawa ng sarili mong kapalaran.”
Belga have every reason to be motivated, especially after Rain or Shine let a golden opportunity slip away on Friday the 13th when they lost a six-point lead in regulation that allowed San Miguel to escape with a 107-101 overtime victory.
That defeat led to an unbelievable struggle for the Painters, who went on to lose three straight games afterwards, before avoiding a freefall with the victory over the Elite.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria watched Friday’s playoff from the stands, and was impressed with Rain or Shine’s mastery of Blackwater.
TNT KATROPA 109 – Castro 20, Fonacier 17, Tautuaa 17, Rosario 11, Ganuelas-Rosser 10, Rosales 8, Williams 6, Reyes 6, Pogoy 6, De Ocampo 4, Carey 2, Seigle 2, Tamsi 0, Sumalinog 0.
GLOBALPORT 101 – Romeo 28, Pringle 19, Pennisi 14, Quinahan 13, Cortez 8, Canaleta 7, Pessumal 5, Maierhofer 3, Semerad 2, Mamaril 2, Paredes 0, Andrada 0.
Quarters: 24-34; 61-56; 86-71; 109-101.