The Blur strikes as TNT makes Finals at the expense of Ginebra
Paul Lintag on Jun 17, 2017 07:29 PM
Down by three, 103-106, with 7:39 to go, Castro anchored a 19-1 TNT run to completely take the fight out of the Gin Kings as the KaTropa made their first PBA Finals since 2015.
Jayson Castro, reigning two-time best point guard in Asia.
After struggling all series long, the Blur gave a signature performance Saturday in Game 4 of the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals against Ginebra, leading TNT to a big 122-109 victory at the Cuneta Astrodome.
With Castro leading the way, the KaTropa won the series, 3-1, to advance to their first PBA Finals since 2015.
TNT will meet rival San Miguel for the title next week.
Down by three, 103-106, with 7:39 to go, Castro anchored a 19-1 TNT run to completely take the fight out of the Gin Kings.
The Blur finished with a near triple-double of 38 points, seven rebounds, and 11 assists as he completely took over the KaTropa as import Joshua Smith continued to deal with lingering pain in his right foot.
Castro dropped 21 points in the second half, leading TNT's initial charge to go up by 12 in the third period before saving his heroics in the fourth to finally put the Gin Kings away.
Despite playing limited minutes once again, Smith managed 18 points for TNT while RR Garcia played the role of Castro's backup to perfection, going for 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists off the bench.
"The whole game, I had this with me—my notes. It’s just two things: No.1, 'Not the numbers that matter, but the Lord’s hand in favor of us.' I know we’re going into this game facing a Ginebra crowd and lahat nung favor is on them. But it’s the Lord’s favor that matters. I feel today, just us keeping our focus, and our composure that really helped us a lot today," head coach Nash Racela said.
"The other thing that says here, “In the Lord’s presence, there’s fullness of joy.” The whole game, especially when Ginebra was making a run in the third quarter, it’s all that I was thinking. I know that it’s always the Lord who has control over everything. He’s sovereign. Kaya dun sa game, alam ko, as long as we do the right things, we commit to things that we really need to do, good things will happen. And in the end, we survived Ginebra," he added
Coming back from a 12-point second half deficit, the top-seeded Gin Kings were poised to force a Game 5 after a 9-0 run gave them a 103-98 lead early in the fourth quarter. However, Ginebra went cold in the final seven minutes of the game, managing only one field goal.
Japeth Aguilar carried the fight for the Gin Kings, dropping 31 points while import Justin Brownlee was good for 25 points and 15 rebounds.
Game 1 of the best-of-7 Commissioner's Cup Finals between no. 2 San Miguel and no. 4 TNT will be on Wednesday, June 21, at the Big Dome.
TNT 122 - Castro 38, Smith 18, Garcia 16, Williams 14, Pogoy 13, De Ocampo 9, Semerad 5, Tautuaa 4, Reyes 3, Rosales 2, Rosario 0.
GINEBRA 109 - Aguilar 31, Brownlee 25, Tenorio 20, Devance 14, Thompson 10, Ellis 6, Marcelo 2, Mercado 1, Ferrer 0.
Quarterscores: 29-35, 66-63, 95-92, 122-109.
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