TNT goes for kill in Game 5


TNT Tropang Giga goes for the kill on Friday but returning Head Coach Chot Reyes just couldn’t dismiss Magnolia’s ability to bounce back strong coming off a lopsided loss.

Reyes and his Tropang Giga are one win shy of ruling the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup. Game Five is set for 6 p.m. at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Reyes expects this Game Five would be the most difficult game in the best-of-seven series, knowing pretty well that Magnolia would be playing with a sense of urgency to stay alive

“We need to be better tomorrow [Friday] than yesterday [Game Four],” Reyes told BusinessMirror on Thursday. “Everyone is focusing on this game and everyone is taking it one game at a time.”

TNT went 3-1 following its 106-89 rout in Game Four with explosive rookie Mikey Williams celebrating his 30th birthday on Wednesday with 26 points and seven assists. He’s averaging 28.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the series.

A victory will be TNT’s first championship since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup with only Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams and Ryan Reyes left from that champion team coached by Jong Uichico.

A title will also be memorable for Reyes who returned to TNT bench this season. He left the team in 2012 to coach the national men’s team, a responsibility that spanned six years.

Troy Rosario, who played with a fractured pinky in his left hand in Game Four, provided TNT “message of courage” and Reyes said his agile forward is “quietly preparing” for Game Five.

Magnolia, on the other hand, is hoping to prevent another downfall.

Best Player of the Conference Calvin Abueva was spectacular in Game Four with 28 points he highlighted with four triples and five rebounds, but his effort wasn’t enough.

Castro added 12 points in Game Four where Ryan Reyes scattered all his 10 points in a blazing second quarter onslaught that saw TNT detonating a 33-15 bomb for a commanding 57-39 halftime lead.

The Tropang Giga were never threatened the rest of Game Four and posted their biggest lead at 68-43.

Former San Beda Red Lion Dave Marcelo showed championship experience by contributing 10 points and five rebounds, JP Erram and Brian Heruela had nine points apiece for TNT.

The Manuel V. Pangilinan franchise is aiming for its eighth PBA crown and sixth Philippine Cup title.

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