Smith hits the winner as TNT takes wild Game 1 over SMB
Paul Lintag on Jun 21, 2017 10:25 PM
BIG BOY. Joshua Smith hit the game-winning hook shot over June Mar Fajardo as TNT survived San Miguel to start the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals.
Despite once again battling injury all game long, Joshua Smith came up huge in the clutch as TNT beat San Miguel to take Game 1 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals Wednesday.
Tied at 102-all with 7.6 seconds left, Smith received the inbounds pass and immediately went to work against June Mar Fajardo, pounding his way inside before hitting the game-winning hook shot with 1.6 seconds to go as the KaTropa pulled off a 104-102 victory at the Big Dome.
Holding on for the dramatic win, TNT took an early 1-0 lead against the Beermen in the best-of-7 series for the title.
Losing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, TNT was forced to take one final shot to score the big win. Ironically, the KaTropa's final play was never intended for Smith, but once the hulking 6'10", 300-pound reinforcement got hold of the ball, he was never letting go.
"We screwed up on that last play actually. San Miguel did a great job denying Jayson [Castro] the ball. They were actually denying all the small men and we really had no choice but to make a play and he [Smith] did," head coach Nash Racela said.
Behind the career game of rookie RR Pogoy, TNT took control in the fourth period, taking a 93-83 lead with with 7:20 to go.
However, the Beermen would make one final run, forcing a 99-all deadlock in the last two minutes after import Charles Rhodes went 1-of-2 from the stripe.
Jayson Castro then hit a booming three to give TNT a 102-99 lead with 44 seconds to go before Chris Ross tied the game for the last time at 102 from the free throw line, setting up Smith's heroics on the other end.
Making his PBA Finals debut, Pogoy fired a career-high 27 points, 13 in the fourth, to lead the TNT offense while Smith was good for 21 on top of nine rebounds.
The Blur had a fine all-around game, dropping 14 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals.
San Miguel actually started the game strong as import Charles Rhodes scored 21 points in the first period alone before being held scoreless in the next two quarters
Still, the towering import finished with 31 for the Beermen while Fajardo added 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Game 2 is set for Friday also at the Big Dome.
TNT 104 - Pogoy 27, Smith 21, Castro 14, Garcia 13, Rosario 10, Tautuaa 7, Semerad 5, Williams 5, Rosales 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Nuyles 0.
SAN MIGUEL 102 - Rhodes 31, Fajardo 18, Cabagnot 16, Ross 11, Santos 11, Lassiter 8, De Ocampo 6, Espinas 1, Tubid 0.
Quarterscores: 24-31, 56-51, 75-73, 104-102.
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