The bruising phase of a seven-game series had taken a toll on both San Miguel Beer and Talk ‘N Text.
In the end, the Tropang Giga, with their fresher legs and youthful energy, were able to endure the hard pounding of this gueling series and able to run away with a 97-79 bashing of the Beermen to barge their way back to the championship round of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
By closing out the series in a full stretch, the Tropang Giga earned the right to play the Magnolia Hotshots in the best-of-seven championship series which will begin this coming week.
This will be the second consecutive season the Tropang Giga will play in the championship round of the Philippine Cup, both of them under a bubble set up.
The Tropang Giga came out ready to close out the series as early as the second period when they held the Beermen to just a single field goal in the last three minutes of the second period, resulting to 45-36 lead at the turn.
But come the second half, TNT’s fresh legs were able to endure the hard pounding although there were some incidents when Ryan Reyes would hit the floor hard after slipping from a wet spot and hurt his groin area and Jayson Castro had a bad landing, but that pales in comparison with San Miguel’s experience with Mo Tautuaa and Terrence Romeo, who both got banged up and were unable to return.
Tautuaa, the most consistent big man on the side of the Beermen in the team’s last two wins, was being hobbled by a knee injury and he had to remove his protection and didn’t come back.
Romeo, on the other hand, hurt his calf in the third period, and was sidelined from there on and on two occasions, CJ Perez hurt his ankle, but still went on to play.
But the Beermen looked their age and when push came to shove, the Tropang Giga’s fancy foot loose team was able to run them to the ground.
TNT outscored San Miguel on fast break points, 11-0, and more importantly, the Tropang Giga were able to outgun their rivals, hitting 12-of-26 shots from beyond the arc with Roger Pogoy hitting 4-of-6 shots and rookie Mikey Williams connecting 3-of-7 attempts.
“I think it’s really important. I really thought in a long series, we’ll have a problem because obviously, in a long series, the more talented team normally wins,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes, who is returning right away to the finals in his coaching return this conference.
“Fortunately today, we were able to play our best defensive game in the series, so going to the series against Magnolia, fitness and conditioning are going to be critical. I thought here in Game 7, our conditioning came through. But we haven’t thought about the Magnolia series yet.”
The Tropang Giga shut down Marcio Lassiter, who was held scoreless in Game 7 after missing all his eight attempts from the field, a far cry from his previous performance where scored 19, including five triples in Game 6.
Even Tautuaa, playing hobbled all game long, was limited to only two points in just 10 minutes of action. The 6-foot-7 Tautuaa has averaged 24.5 points for the Beermen in their last two victories.
Alex Cabagnot produced only three points on 1-of-8 shooting.
San Miguel’s 79-point output was its lowest output this conference.
But TNT was able to get it done on both ends of the court as offensively, Pogoy and Williams did most of the damage with a double barrel attack from the wings.
Pogoy finished with 27 points while Williams added 20 markers.Internet Explorer Channel Network