TNT blasts Meralco, moves 1 win closer toward semis

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Talk ‘N Text routed Meralco, 102-84, on Monday in Game 1 of the best-of-three quarterfinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum. TNT is now one win away from securing a semifinals slot.

The KaTropa launched a 21-6 run in the opening period highlighted by Moala Tautuaa’s jumper with still 4:47 before the second canto

Moala Tautuaa of TNT sneaks a shot past Chris Newsome of Meralco during Game 1 of the best-of-three quarterfinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Monday. PBA MEDIA BUREAU PHOTO

Guard Chris Newsome’s two free throws reduced Meralco’s deficit to 51-53 with 4:55 to go in the third canto.

But TNT’s Anthony Semerad nailed a three-pointer in the payoff period to extend the KaTropa’s lead to 93-6—their biggest in the game—with still 5:10 left in the match.

The Bolts failed to catch up until the final buzzer.

“I think offensively, we were just blessed to have contributions from almost everybody,” said TNT coach Nash Racela. “It doesn’t happen all the time, but it really helped us. We made it hard for Meralco to make their shots. Our defense was good tonight.”

“They will make adjustments in the next game.”

Veteran Jayson Castro posted 25 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while import Josh Smith added 19 points to lead the KaTropa. Tautuaa and Kelly Williams contributed 13 and 10 points, respectively, also for the No. 4 TNT.

Guard Chris Newsome led Meralco with 21 points, including 12 in the third period, while Baser Amer had 14. Import Alex Stepheson finished with a measly nine points and 16 rebounds.

Meanwhile, No. 1 twice-to-beat holder Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and GlobalPort clash at 7 p.m. tonight while No. 2 twice-to-beat holder San Miguel Beer meets Phoenix at 4:15 p.m. in the other quarterfinals pairings also at the Araneta Coliseum.



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