by Jonas Terrado
Game Saturday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. — San Miguel vs Rain or Shine
Game Sunday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:15 p.m. — Ginebra vs TNT KaTropa
(TNT leads series 1-0)
TNT KaTropa erased another 10-point deficit against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and hacked out a 95-92 victory to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five semifinal series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Terrence Jones and Troy Rosario were instrumental in the KaTropa’s rally after trailing 72-62 in the third to give the KaTropa the upper hand against the defending champions.
Rosario scored eight of his 24 points in the fourth while Jones scored TNT’s final four points, including a lefty layup with 10.5 seconds remaining that eventually led to the final score.
Ginebra tried to send the game into overtime but Joe Devance missed a three before time expired.
“Defense got us the win,” said TNT coach Bong Ravena, whose bracing for another gutwrenching affair on Sunday when his team seek a 2-0 lead at the Big Dome.
But the KaTropa head into the second game without Tony Semerad, who hurt his left shoulder after colliding with Justin Brownlee during a looseball situation.
Semerad had been playing well on both ends, scoring 17 points spiked by four triples while making Brownlee work for his 24 points.
“I think it’s a broken shoulder,” said Ravena.
Brownlee also had 15 rebounds, nine assists and five steals but Ginebra saw a repeat of its 104-96 defeat to TNT in the eliminations by squandering a similar lead.
Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio scored 18 points apiece and Devance had 11 points for the Kings.
Tenorio’s three put Ginebra ahead 87-80 with less than six minutes to go in the fourth but TNT went on a 13-2 run that ended when Jones stole the ball from Brownlee before converting a layup for 93-89, 1:30 remaining.
Pringle scored to cut the deficit in half but Brownlee split his charities after the Semerad foul that led to the injury with 39.0 left in the fourth to keep TNT ahead, 93-92.
TNT KATROPA 95 — Jones 24, Rosario 24, A. Semerad 17, Castro 13, Pogoy 10, Trollano 6, Heruela 2, Washington 0, Taha 0, Reyes 0, Magat 0.
GINEBRA 92 — Brownlee 23, Pringle 18, Tenorio 18, Devance 11, Aguilar 8, Slaughter 7, Caguioa 7, Caperal 0, Mariano 0, Thompson 0, Teodoro 0.
Quarters: 23-24; 51-50; 70-78; 95-92.