Glen Rice Jr Saves the day as TNT Avoids Upset, Books Semifinal Slot Against Ginebra

Ugly win against gusty Elasto Painters did the job

Glen Rice Jr. scored 34 points to lead TNT. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Talk N Text had the chance to make this match-up wrapped in one game. They failed. They came short. Now, both the KaTropa and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters will have to battle it out for the final time to know who between the two teams will earn the honor of meeting the already-waiting Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the semifinals.
Both teams struggled to hold onto the lead, especially in the second half. Both teams didn’t shoot better than 50% in the field in the endgame. But against all odds, the Talk N Text KaTropa prevented an upset by eliminating the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on a 118-114 victory that booked the KaTropa a slot in the semifinals for a chance to dethrone the defending champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.
As everyone was expecting them to do, the Talk N Text KaTropa came out firing early in the first quarter as they made 6 of their first 7 attempts to hold an 8-point lead but the Elasto Painters’ offense finally started to click in and bridged the gap at 21-18 on Mark Borboran’s 3-point play. Right after TNT increased their edge back 8, Chris Tiu later brought it down to two on his 3-point shot with 1:19 to play in the first. Mark Borboran ended the opening chapter with a three-pointer to beat the buzzer to tie the score at 27 all. Borboran already 9 points to lead all scorers while TNT’s import, Glen Rice Jr. 8 points during the first 12 minutes. of play.
If TNT was firing on all cylinders in the first quarter, the beginning of the second was a little different as the defense of Rain or Shine forced the KaTropa to turn the ball over multiple times or take highly-contested shots that missed the basket. Later, J’Nathan Bullock drained a jumper to make 42-35 in favor of the Elasto Painters, their biggest lead in the first half. 
The Blur, Jayson Castro nailed a 3-pointer in the ensuing possessions to bring his team within 1, at 43-42 and then added a pair of free throws to give TNT a one-point lead with under 5 minutes before the break. The lead switched hands multiple times as both teams struggled to mount scoring runs as both teams every made basket with another basket and, every missed shot with another missed shot. As a result, both teams headed into the break with the score tied at 59 apiece after Jericho Cruz made a buzzer-beating jumper for the Elasto Painters.
Both teams were shooting relatively good percentages with TNT making 45% of their attempts in the first half while Rain or Shine converted 51% of their own. Glen Rice Jr. led the KaTropa with 18 points while Jayson Castro added 16 points which include 8 free throws and two from beyond the arc. Bullock on the other hand, scored 15 first-half points while Beau Belga added 12. 
What was the difference that worked for TNT? Free throw shooting. As a team, TNT attempted 25 free throws in the first half alone, making 20 of them. In contrast, Rain or Shine only made 7 of their 9 attempts from the free throw line.
It took almost two minutes into the 3rd quarter before either team scored, a spell that was by broken by Glen Rice Jr. a lay-up and J’Nathan Bullock on a pair of charities at the other end. After Bullock nailed a long one off a lucky bounce, Anthony Semerad answered a three-pointer of his own to increase TNT’s advantage to 5 which was later trimmed down to 1 anew off a Mark Borboran lay-up with 5:06 to go, forcing TNT Coach Nash Racela to call for a timeout.  The rest of the 3rd quarter became a free throw shooting contest as both teams struggled to make any notable run. The Elasto Painters had an 86-85 lead entering the final quarter
Chris Tiu and Gabe Norwood drained a three-pointer each to open the fourth quarter to give Rain or Shine, a  7-point lead, prompting TNT to call for another with barely 2 minutes into the quarter. A pair of threes from Ryan Reyes and Anthony Semerad enabled the KaTropa to grab the lead at 102-100 with under 6 minutes to work with.

From that point on, the match became a shootout as Jericho Cruz added another trey for Rain or Shine to tie the score at 105 apiece with less than 4 minutes to play. The Elasto Painter later regained the lead after a  Norwood trey but TNT went on a 5-0 scoring run that made it 112-108, in favor of the KaTropa approaching the final two-minute mark.

Then, Beau Belga and Jericho Cruz combined for Rain or Shine next 4 points to tie the score, again, at 112 all. Two free throws from Bullock gave Rain or Shine the edge, at 114-112 with 46 seconds to go. 3 seconds later, Castro drew J’Nathan Bullock’s 5th foul and drained the ensuing free throws. After the Elasto Painter failed to score on their next possession, Glen Rice Jr. tipped back Castro’s air-balled trey which gave KaTropa the lead, at 116-114 with 10 ticks to play. A bad pass by Bullock enabled TNT to dribble away the clock as Ryan Reyes made two more charities to end the game.
Glen Rice Jr. came out of his shooting slump to finish with 34 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists. Jayson Castro, despite making 3 of his 11 field goal attempts, finished with 20 points, built on 12 free throws. He also dished away 12 assists in the game. Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy added 18 and 16 respectively while Kelly Williams scored 10 points. Points off turnovers were one of the reasons why the KaTropa prevented Rain or Shine from running away especially in the 4th quarter. In addition to this, TNT held a 38-32 advantage in points in the paint.
Rain or Shine on the other hand, was led by Bullock’s 30 points. Beau Belga scored 18 to lead the bench players of the Elasto Painters who, for the second straight game, outscored the bench players of TNT, 54-20. Gabe Norwood finished with 14 while Jericho Cruz added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Scores:
TNT – 118
Rice Jr. 34,  Castro 20, Rosario 18, Pogoy 16, Willams 10, Semerad 8, Reyes 5, Carey 4, Tautuaa 3, Golla 0, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0, Lingganay 0, Seigle 0, Chua 0
Rain or Shine – 114
Bullock 30, Belga 18, Borboran 15, Norwood 14, Cruz 11, Tiu 10, Ahanmisi 7, Trollano 5, Almazan 4, Maiquez 0, Ponferada 0, Yap 0, Robles 0, Matias 0, King 0, Daquioag 0
Quarter scoring:
27-27, 59-59, 85-86, 118-114

3 Things TNT Needs To Do Against ROS

These things will bring the TNT KaTropa to the semifinals

Glen Rice Jr. only made 8 of his 28 attempts last Wednesday. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Many thought that the Talk N Text KaTropa would put an end to the season of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters when they opened their quarterfinals match-up last Wednesday. Unfortunately, many were disappointed when the Elasto Painters were able to weather away from a furious 4th quarter comeback by TNT as they successfully pulled a 106-102 victory which is the reason they will need to play one more time tonight to decide who between them will face the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the semifinals.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We all know that the players of Coach Nash Racela are capable of beating any team regardless if they have the twice-to-beat-advantage or not. Fortunately for TNT, finishing in the Top 4 at the end of the elimination round gives them another chance to make things right and to be able to move on to the next level, there are things that they need to do to avoid another embarrassing loss and below are those things:

Bench must produce!

If we’re going to look back at last Wednesday’s game, one of the reasons why TNT ran out of gas especially during their failed 4th quarter comeback was the mere fact that there was no significant production that came out from the bench players of TNT who combined to finished with 9 points which a far cry to the 29 points of the bench of ROS. 
If TNT wishes to get rid of the Elasto Painters, they will need everyone on board and they cannot simply rely on the heroics of Jayson Castro especially during clutch situations. For one, Roger Pogoy must become the player who helped his team beat Ginebra in the final game of the elimination round. In their game last Wednesday,  Pogoy only had 7 points and 6 fouls. If anything, this conference has proven what Pogoy can do and he will need to bring his A+ game come tonight. And so is the rest of the bench players of TNT.

Glen Rice Jr. must score more

The defense of Coach Caloy Garcia and his wards had successfully limited Glen Rice Jr.’s offensive output to only 19 points while making only 8 of his 28 attempts including just 1 of 12 three-point attempts. Coming into tonight’s game, Nash Racela knows that for his team to have a chance against the Elasto Painters, he must tell his import to manage his attempts and only take the shots that have a higher chance of going into the basket because otherwise, a missed shot is a missed opportunity for the rest of the team. Last Wednesday’s game saw Rice Jr. waste 20 scoring opportunities for his team. He doesn’t only need to score more for  TNT to win the game. He needs to slow things down on offense.

Make it rain

As ugly as it sounds, TNT only made 9 of 35 shots from rainbow country, a horrible 25% shooting from that area. And that is not the kind of shooting percentage you can expect from a TNT team that is loaded with shooters. In contrast, Rain or Shine made it rain from deep the entire game and they continuously bombed away and finished the game, making 16  out of 42 from deep. 
If anything, TNT has been known, loved and even hated by opposing teams for their ability to make it rain with threes and if they can go back to that habit of making more threes like nothing else happened, TNT would be a very scary team to play against and Ginebra would better watch out. 

Bolts Recover in Time to Book Semifinal Slot

Amer led the Bolts as Durham gets hurt late

Amer played one of the best games in his career to lead the Bolts (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
The Blackwater Elite knew that they were facing a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the top-seeded team, Meralco Bolts when they first faced off against last Tuesday to open the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup. It seemed that the disadvantaged didn’t bother Allen Maliksi who completed the Elite’s comeback win when he drained that game winner in the dying seconds of Tuesday’s battle. As a result, both teams get another chance to decide which of them will have the honor of dancing against the Star Hotshots in the semifinals.
They fell behind during most of the first half. Henry Walker was torching them early on. Their own import, Allen Durham got hurt in the 4th quarter and yet, the Meralco Bolts will now face the Star Hotshots in the semifinals after eliminating the Blackwater, 104-96.
Wanting to make up for their slow start last Tuesday when they fell, 24-17 at the end of quarter number 1, the Bolts went firing on all cylinders as Baser Amer scored 5 points during the opening minutes of the game after missing most of Tuesday’s game due to injury that he sustained just a few seconds into the game.

However, shortly after the Bolts held an 8-point lead, the Elite went on a scoring to take the lead, at 18-18 with under 4 minutes to play, thanks to Maliksi’s 3-point play. Maliksi later added another jumper with under 2 minutes remaining in the opening quarter to increase the Elite’s lead to 5, forcing Norman Black to signal that he needed a timeout. The Bolts went 4 minutes without scoring a field goal, a spell that was only broken by Ranidel de Ocampo who went on his 5-point run to tie the score at 22 apiece with a minute to play.

In the second quarter, the Bolts took the lead on multiple occasions but their inconsistency allowed the Elite to take the lead and that lead increased to 33-28 on Henry Walker’s three-point shot 3 minutes into the quarter. Walker scored on a 3-point play to furthermore push the lead to 8. Eventually, Garvo Lanete contributed on a Meralco run as his three-pointer gave them the lead at 37-36 only to be answered by Walker who made a pair of three-pointers of his own to make it 42-37 with under 4 minutes before halftime. He also drained another three-pointer to give Blackwater their first taste of a double-digit lead.
The Elite took a 52-40 into the halftime break as Henry Walker led the way with 27 points which included a 6 of 11 shooting from rainbow distance and, 11 rebounds. JP Eram had 11 points in the first half to go along with 5 boards. Blackwater held a double-digit lead at the half thanks to their three-point shooting which saw them make 6 of 18 attempts, all by Walker. Allen Durham had 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead Meralco. The Bolts were outmuscled on the boards at 33-25 and were outscored on second-chance points at 7-4.
Meralco then started the 3rd quarter by trimming down the Elite’s lead to 6 thanks to Baser Amer who completed a 3-point play. But Allen Maliksi drained a 3-pointer to bring the lead back to 11 only to be answered by an Allen Durham basket off an offensive rebound. Mike Digregorio later answered with another trey for the Elite and Ranidel de Ocampo added another one from long distance to keep the lead down at 8 with under 8 minutes to go in the quarter.  The lead went down to as lowest as three after de Ocampo completed a 3-point play with 5:40 to play. 
Finally, the Bolts grabbed the lead for the since the first half after Jared Dillinger drained another trey for Meralco, making it 68-67 with 2:52 remaining in the 3rd. After making 6 threes in the first half, Henry Walker finally drained his first one in the second during the final 5 seconds of the quarter as Blackwater took a 77-73 lead into the fourth quarter.
If anything, the Meralco Bolts found their shooting touch back in the 3rd as they started the fourth quarter with a series of three-pointers from Baser Amer, Garvo Lanete and the last one, on Jared Dillinger’s trey to put the Bolts up by 87-84 with under 9 minutes to play, prompting Leo Isaac to call for a timeout. 
Just when everyone thought that things were starting to go the Bolts’ way, Allen Durham was hurt after landing awkwardly while driving for a lay-up. He was taken to the bench and was attended by the trainers. He later returned to the game and scored 4 straight points to widen the lead to 99-91 with less than 4 minutes to spare. Dillinger again, drained another bomb from the 3-point line to put the Bolts up 10 with under 2 minutes left and that proved to be the dagger that put the life out of the Elite, for good.
Baser Amer led the Bolts with 31 points while making 4 of his 7 attempts from downtown. Allen Durham added 18 points to go with his 20 rebounds and 9 assists. Garvo Lanete provided the needed spark off the bench with 17 markers which were built on 5 makes from rainbow country. Dillinger finished with 15 points. Ranidel de Ocampo added 14 as the Bolts recovered from their early struggles especially when it comes to shooting threes as they finished the game by making 41% of their attempts from that area. 
Overall, Meralco made 46%  of their shots as compared to the Elite who only managed to make 39% of their total attempts.
Henry Walker concluded his stint with Blackwater with 34 points, but only scoring 7 of them after the halftime break. JP Eram added 18 points while Mike Digregorio scored 10 points. Allen Maliksi only had 10 points on a miserable 3 of 11 field goal shooting.
Scores:
Meralco – 104
Amer 31, Durham 18, Lanete 17, Dilinger 15, de Ocampo 14, Newsome 7, Hodge 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurita 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Nabong 0, Faundo 0, Tolomia 0
Blackwater – 96
Walker 34, Eram 18, Digregorio 11, Maliksi 10, Canaleta 6, Marcelo 6, Belo 5, Sumang 4, Pinto 2, Miranda 0, Banal 0, Sena 0, Cervantes 0, Cruz 0, Ellis 0, Javier 0
Quarter scoring:
22-22, 40-52, 73-77, 104-96

Defense Wins it for Ginebra! Spoiled Grand Slam Hope of SMB

Ginebra enters the semifinals after dominance against the Beermen

Greg Slaughter helped contained the Kraken’s offensive output. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
This is the quarterfinal match-up that everyone wanted to see. You see, this match-up will decide which reign will end. On one side, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings want to make it a back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles. For the San Miguel Beermen, a win here will extend their season and keep their chances of winning a rare Grand Slam. There are many things that are at stake in this specific game. And by the way, we got to see another battle between two Cebuano giants in Greg Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo.
The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings anchored on their defense to frustrate the San Miguel Beermen, leading to a 104-84 victory which saw the Beermen’s hopes for a Grand Slam crumbled down to Earth. In effect, the Gin Kings will now have to wait for the winner of the do-or-die game between the TNT KaTropa and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Both the Gin Kings and the Beermen immediately went to work on offense right after the tip-off which saw the lead switched hands multiple times before the 1st quarter ended with a tie, at 23 apiece. Justin Brownlee scored the first points of the Gin Kings in the second quarter on a three-pointer as Ginebra opted to throw double teams on Fajardo every time he had the ball on offense which resulted in contested shots or turnovers. Brownlee added another trey to put the Gin Kings up by 9, at 34-25 with under 9 minutes to play in the quarter. Nothing went well on the Beermen’s offense as they were either blocked by Ginebra’s big men, forced into difficult shots or turnovers. San Miguel went without scoring a single point during the 5-minute span that Ginebra went on an 8-0 run until Terrence Watson scored on a jumper to end the dry spell with under 5 minutes before the halftime break.
At the half, the Gin Kings were up, 45-32 and part of that success can be associated with Brownlee’s performance which produced 20 points while making all 4 three-point attempts. But, it was Ginebra’s defense in the second quarter which made life miserable for the Beermen who were only limited to 9 points during the entire quarter. Fajardo on the other side, had 9 points on 4 of 8 field goal shooting although he had 11 rebounds to his name. No bench players from Leo Austria’s team has scored during the first 24 minutes of action as compared to the 6 bench points of Ginebra.
Just like they did in the second quarter, the Gin Kings opened the second half with another three-pointer, this time from LA Tenorio.  Unlike in the second quarter where they struggled to score, the Beermen were able to cut down a double-digit deficit to 9 after June Mar Fajardo added another 2-point field goal, forcing Tim Cone to yell for a timeout with 7:02 to go in the quarter. The Beermen’s’s incapability to sustain a scoring was what one of the many things which kept them behind as Ginebra found a wide variety of ways to score which included a dunk by Brownlee in the dying seconds of the 3rd as the Gin Kings entered the final quarter with the lead, 74-61.
Ginebra, again began a quarter with a pair of treys that increased their lead to 17 during the first few possessions of the 4th quarter.  Scottie Thompson added another lay-up off a steal which increased the lead, 86-65 with under 8 minutes to go and Ginebra went on unthreatened during the rest of quarter. The lead went up as high as 30 after Thompson drained a trey approaching the two-minute mark as Japeth Aguilar added another dunk.
Justin Brownlee had 37 points and 12 rebounds to lead Ginebra as they moved on into the semifinals. Joe Devance added 17 points while the twin tower of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter finished with 13 points each.  Scottie Thompson only had 7 points on 3 of 13 shooting but was a monster in the rebounding battle as he tallied 13 rebounds, 8 of them are offensive rebounds. As a team, Ginebra made 49% of their shot attempts including 50% from the three-point territory.  Bench scoring also helped the Gin Kings as they outscored their counterparts, 22-9.
Unfortunately for the San Miguel Beermen, nothing clearly went their way. They turned the ball over 20 times which the Gin Kings converted into 22 points off those turnovers. San Miguel shot poorly from beyond the arc as they only made 9 of their 20 attempts from that area.  Terrence Watson finished his tenure with the Beermen with 30 points and 22 rebounds. Fajardo, the leading MVP candidate this season, finished with 19 points while Marcio Lassiter added 13.

Scores:

Ginebra – 104
Brownlee 37, Devance 17, J. Aguilar 13, Slaughter 13, Marcelo 9 Tenorio 8, Thompson 7, Helterbrand 0, Ferrer 0, Jamito 0, Cruz, Mariano 0, Caguioa 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0

San Miguel – 84
Watson 30, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 8, Santos 6, Ross 5, Espinas 3, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0

Quarterscores:

23-23, 45-32, 74-61, 104-84

ROS Survives Furious TNT Run in 4th

Rain or Shine forces a do or die game after diffusing TNT

Gabe Norwood scored 15 points to extend the season for ROS (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

This game featured two different teams with identical situations coming into the game. Both teams are still in working progress as they’ve undergone coaching changes. Both teams also traded some of their longtime players so they’re building new chemistry amongst themselves. The only difference is that in this quarterfinal series, one team has to win twice before moving on into the semifinals and that team is the Rain or Shine Elato Painters. Sure, beating the Talk N Text KaTropa on two consecutive occasions may be a big challenge but it’s not impossible, right?
Just when everyone thought that there would be another come-from-behind win again, nope. Not this time. The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters survived despite being held scoreless for almost 4 minutes in the 4th quarter as they beat the TNT KaTropa, 106-102.
The game between the KaTropa and the Elasto Painters began with both engaging in an exchange of scored baskets especially those that are off forced turnovers. Both teams were able to run the open floor and score on multiple attempts from the three-point line as the first quarter ended with TNT up by 2, at 28-26. When the 2nd quarter began, it became a battle of forced turnovers as TNT was able to take advantage the Elasto Painters’ mistakes by scoring on the other end. Then, TNT on a scoring run to increase their lead to 8 only for Rain or Shine to climb right back at as they tied the game with under 4 minutes to go in the quarter. The Elasto Painters took the lead and built an 8-point lead of their own after J’Nathan Bullock nailed a jumper with 1:57 on the clock, forcing Nash Racela to call for a timeout.
Rain or Shine entered the halftime break with a 5-point lead, at 52-47 thanks to Bullock’s 23 points to lead all scorers. The Elasto Painters did everything right in the first half from the field goal shooting at 46% including 40% from beyond the arc, to the making extra passes which results in a 13-8 advantage in the total assists.
For TNT, Anthony Semerad exploded for 11 of 16 first-half points in the first quarter alone to lead the KaTropa. Jayson Castro and Glen Rice Jr. added 9 points apiece. Even though TNT struggled offensively in the first half, they took advantage of the fastbreak points, holding a 6-4 edge in that category. In addition to this, the KaTropa were able to keep the score close for the majority of the first half by scoring more off their own missed opportunities as they also held a 9-2 advantage in terms of second-chance points.
Troy Rosario opened the scoring in the 3rd quarter by making a shot off an offensive rebound only to be answered by Chris Tiu on the other end. Jayson Castro soon scored on a lay-up and Kelly Williams added another field goal to put KaTropa back in the lead at 58-56 with 8:37 to play in the quarter, forcing Coach Caloy Garcia to call a timeout. The Elasto Painters scored on back-to-back three-pointers made by Chris Tiu and Gabe Norwood to give them the lead. Another trey by Beau Belga pushed the lead to 6 with 6 minutes to spare. Then, Kelly Williams scored on an alley-oop dunk off a lob from Castro to cut the lead down to 1 in the next few possessions.
Glen Rice Jr. later dunked on THREE defenders and Roger Pogoy added another lay-up to put TNT back in the lead and was followed by an acrobatic lay-up by Kelly Williams. with under 4 to play. After a couple of missed shots by the KaTropa, the Elasto Painters took back the lead on another pair of three-pointers by Gabe Norwood and J’Nathan Bullock. Kelly Williams added another dunk plus a free throw but Rain or Shine scored as they took an 84-75 lead heading into the 4th quarter.
Don Trollano scored on a three-pointer to open the 4th quarter scoring as Rain or Shine’s lead ballooned to double figures at 87-75 as Raymond Almazan followed with another putback to increase the lead to 14, just 2 minutes into the quarter. A Gabe Norwood trey increased the lead to 15 but Kelly Williams answered back with an inside shot for TNT.  The KaTropa continued to clank on their trey during the early minutes of the 4th as Pogoy fouled out with 7:43 to play. At this time, the Elasto Painters were already leading by 18 points after Almazan scored on a pair of charities. A driving lay-up by Maverick Ahanmisi put his team up 20 points with 6:27 to go as Coach Nash Racela called for another time because his team was struggling, both offensively and defensively.
A 9-0 scoring run by TNT cut down the lead to 102-91 with under 4 minutes to play. Troy Rosario added another pair of free throws to cut the lead to 9. The lead was later pushed down to 7 off Glen Rice Jr’s basket. Jericho Cruz finally ended the scoring drought for the Elasto Painters to bring the lead back to 9 approaching the final 2-minute mark. Knowing that his team needed a basket, Jayson Castro scored on another trey to cut the lead down to 6 with 1:17 on the clock to work with.
Glen Rice Jr. later attacked the basket, fished on a foul from a defender, and calmly drained both charities to put the lead back to 4 with under a minute left. After a series of bad passes by both teams which ended with the ball in Norwood’s hands, Ahanmisi drained 1 of 2 free throws to increase their lead to 5 anew with 33 seconds to play. Rice Jr.’s dunk’s cut down the lead as the Elasto Painters just made 1 of the free throws on the next possession, keeping the door open for TNT with 12 seconds to go. TNT missed the next two three-pointers as time ran out for them.
J’Nathan Bullock led the way for the Elasto Painters with 31 points to go along with his 15 rebounds. Bullock scored on 7 out of 12 three-point shots. Gabe Norwood added 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Almazan finished the game with 13 points while Ahanmisi added 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. What won the game for the Elasto Painters was their three-point shooting as well as their bench scoring which saw the bench players of Rain or Shine outscored their TNT counterparts, 29-9.
For the KaTropa, Kelly Williams had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Jayson Castro added 22 points. Import Glen Rice Jr. had to settle for 19 points on a miserable 8 of 28 field goal shooting and this was actually one of the reasons why TNT fell behind in the first place. Anthony Semerad had 19 points too and was followed by Troy Rosario who 10 points and 16 rebounds.

Scores:

Rain or Shine – 106
Bullock 31, Norwood 15, Almazan 13, Ahanmisi 10, Tiu 10, Trollano 10, Cruz 8, Belga 5, Borboran 2, Daquioag 2, Maiquez 0, Ponferada 0, Yap 0, Robles 0, Matias 0, King 0

TNT – 102
Williams 23, Castro 22, Semerad 19, Rice Jr. 19, Rosario 10, Pogoy 7, Siegel 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Hernandez 0, Reyes 0, Lingganay 0, Chua 0

Quarter scoring:

26-28, 52-47, 84-75, 106-102

Acox Delivers the Goods as Star Hotshots Eliminates the Road Warriors to Move to the Semi-Finals

Hotshots barge into semifinals after eliminating NLEX

Paul Lee was the top scorer for the locals

Paul Lee scored 18 points for Star (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

For Yeng Guiao, coaching a team that has been tagged as a considerable underdog against a powerhouse team such as the Star Hotshots is no longer new to him as he already attained years’ worth of experience of coaching underdogs and still, winning. That’s how dangerous the NLEX Road Warriors are despite the absence of a consistent player who can produce big numbers every time. For the Hotshots of Chito Victolero, having the twice-to-beat advantage against the multi-titled Yeng Guiao is a false advantage because he knew as well as the rest of the Star team that NLEX has made significant improvements since Guiao took over at the helm.
Down 2 entering the fourth quarter, the Star Hotshots jumped out firing and took the lead away from the NLEX Road Warriors as they held a double-digit lead during the dying minutes of the game as the Hotshots prevailed, 89-77 to enter the semifinals where they will face the winner of the do-or-die game between the Meralco Bolts and the Blackwater Elite
The game began with both teams starting to find their respective rhythm as NLEX led at 23-22 after the first quarter with Kevin Alas led the scoring chores for the Road Warriors with 8 points. The run-and-gun battle carried over during the opening minutes of quarter number two as Paul Lee, Rafi Reavis, Ian Sangalang and Jio Jalalon all scored on different occasions to put Star up by 7 points, at 34-27 with 8:46 to go in the 2nd quarter. However, Star’s tendency to commit nonsense turnovers hindered their capability to ignite a significant scoring run throughout the first half as the Road Warriors were able to climb right back with timely three-pointers.

Juami Tiongson later scored on a lay-up to tie the score at 37 apiece with under 6 minutes to play and then import Aaron Fuller scored on an offensive rebound to give the lead back to NLEX at 39-37 as Chito Victolero signaled that he wanted a timeout with 4:36 to play in the quarter.

Then, the Hotshots went on a 7-0 scoring run that began on Aldrich Ramos’ 3-pointer that was followed by a dunk by Kris Acox and a running shot by PJ Simon to put Star up by, at 45-43 only to watch JR Quinahan tied it up again with 12 seconds remaining in the first half.

Both imports have failed to make their respective presence felt during the first half as Fuller and Acox scored 10 and 9 respectively. Despite having committed 14 turnovers in the first half alone, the Hotshots stayed close by making half of their 34 shot attempts in the first 24 minutes of the game. Another reason why Star remained in the game was their fastbreak points wich the Hotshots dominated at 8-2 in the first half For their part, the Road Warriors were able to stick around by scoring more off their missed points.
Both imports then started off the scoring for their respective teams to start the second half as Larry Fornacier drilled a trey to put NLEX by 3, 2 minutes into the 3rd quarter. NLEX later increased their lead to 7 on Fuller’s putback. Alex Mallari drained a 3-pointer a few possessions later to put the Road Warriors up by 8 points, at 63-55. However, NLEX’s inconsistency to sustain a scoring run doomed them as Hotshots went on a scoring run on their own to cut the lead down to 63-61 heading into the final quarter.
Star went on an 8-0 run to open the fourth quarter to snatch the lead 69-63 on Kris Acox’s acrobatic lay-up. Star later increased their lead to 8 and NLEX cut it down to 6 on multiple times only for Acox to score on another lay-up off a pass from Marc Pingris to put the Hotshots up by 8 with 7:07 remaining in the game, forcing Yeng Guiao to call a much-needed timeout. Aaron Fuller’s shot with under 6 minutes to go put down the lead at 75-71 only for Paul Lee to make 1 of 2 charities and Marc Pingris to score on a lucky bounce to increase the lead anew to 8 and Paul Lee added another lay-up to give Star its first double-digit lead of the game with under 4 minutes to spare. Paul Lee made another pair of free throws to sustain a 10-point lead for his team with 2:50 play, forcing NLEX to call another timeout.

That appeared to be the turning point as NLEX was plagued with turnovers and fouls as Paul Lee added another jumper to increase the lead to 14 under 2 minutes to go in the game.

Star Hotshots were led by import, Kris Acox who had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Paul Lee finally broke out of his scoring slump, adding 18 points while Ian Sangalang added 14 points. The Star as a team made 52% of their shot attempts as compared to the Road Warriors who only made 39% of their attempts during the entire game.
For the eliminated Road Warriors, Aaron Fuller finished his Governors’ Cup campaign with 16 points to lead his team while former Star player Alex Mallari added 15 points while Kevin Alas finished with 14 on 5 out of 9 shooting.
Scores:
Star – 89
Acox 21, Lee 18, Sangalang 14, Pingris 8, Jalalon 7, Simon 7, Brondial 5, Raamos 3, Barroca 2, Reavis 2, dela Rosa 2, Melton 0, Mendoza 0, Gamalinda 0, Abundo 0,  Pascual 0
NLEX – 77
Fuller 16, Mallari 15, Alas 14, Fornacier 9, Quinahan 6, Tiongson 5, Baguio 5, Rios 4, Al-Hussaini 3, Taulava 0, Monfort 0, Lastimosa 0, Villanueva 0, Soyud 0, Ighalo 0, Gotladera 0
Quarter scores:
22-23, 45-45, 61-63, 89-77