Smith powers through pain again to give TNT early Finals lead
Paul Lintag on Jun 22, 2017 07:57 AM
Tied at 102-all with 7.6 seconds to go, Smith turned a broken TNT play into a game-winning hook shot over June Mar Fajardo as the KaTropa took Game 1 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals.
For the third straight game in the playoffs, TNT import Joshua Smith left the basketball court at some point to receive treatment for his ailing foot.
In Game 1 of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals Wednesday, the towering Smith was headed to the dugout during the third quarter after it appeared that he aggravated the injury on his right foot.
He made his way back during the fourth, and despite an obvious limp, more pronounced this time around compared to the last two games, the 6'10", 300-pound import managed to come through for the KaTropa
Tied at 102-all with 7.6 seconds to go, Smith turned a broken TNT play into a game-winning hook shot over June Mar Fajardo as the KaTropa took the series opener via a dramatic 104-102 decision.
"It was for Jayson," Smith said on the final play that was intended for Jayson Castro.
"He wasn't open. I caught the ball, I was looking for somebody to pass it to. Once there was nobody else I just decided to do it myself," he added.
Finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds, and two assists, Smith will obviously feel his injury one way or another as soon as he settles down after Game 1.
However, with TNT taking the win and a 1-0 lead in the Finals, Smith will get to deal with his injury a little better.
"My foot's hurting but it feels better when you win. That's all that really matters," he said.
Exiting for the dugout during a crucial stretch in the game, Smith could only trust his teammates to come through for him.
And once he came back, he made sure to return the favor.
"I just kept telling myself 12 minutes, 12 minutes, 12 minutes. Like I said, my thing is, as much as it is easy for me to pack up my stuff and leave, I wanna keep playing. I came here with one goal and I’m so close so I gotta take it day-by-day," Smith said.
"I have faith in my teammates it was like the game 4 against Ginebra. I went out end of the third quarter. It’s a similar play and I came back, but I trust my teammates. You know what I’m saying? I got faith in them and I know they’re gonna go out there and handle their business," he added.
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