PBA: Star, TNT hope to complete Commissioner’s Cup semis cast

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Jio Jalalon and Star had an easy time defeating Rain Or Shine in Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series on Monday. Courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau

Judging by the ease with which they won their opening games, Star and TNT are heavy favorites to close out their best-of-3 quarterfinal series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Star looks to dominate Rain Or Shine anew when they battle at Araneta Coliseum at 4:15 p.m., before TNT tussles with Meralco at 7 p.m.

A win by Star will set up the Hotshots with San Miguel in the semifinals, while a victory by TNT gets the KaTropa a date with Barangay Ginebra in the next round.

These scenarios aren’t unlikely, given Star and TNT’s convincing wins in Game 1.

Star bludgeoned Rain Or Shine 118-82 on Monday, behind Ricardo Ratliffe’s 29-point production, while TNT crushed Meralco 102-84 on Jayson Castro’s all-around performance.

Meralco head coach Norman Black was annoyed by the defeat, particularly because Alex Stepheson failed to assert himself against a TNT squad that fielded Justin Smith (bum stomach) at less than 100%.

“They didn’t even start their import, which doesn’t say much for their respect for my import,” Black told the PBA website.  

“For me, as a former import, it would’ve been insulting for the other team not to start their import.”

TNT had plenty of help. Castro got game-high numbers of 25 points and 7 assists, Moala Tautuaa finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds, Kelly Williams 10 and 8, while Troy Rosario and RR Garcia contributed 9 points each.

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