An undermanned TNT squad hit some timely long bombs to survive a wild Barangay Ginebra comeback, 95-82, in Game 2 of their best-of-seven 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup finals series on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Despite a limited frontcourt rotation due to absence of Justin Chua and Kelly Williams, the Tropang Giga were still able to level the series at one game apiece.
TNT led by as many as 16 halfway in the second quarter, 41-25, before the wards of Jojo Lastimosa ended the first half enjoying a 51-39 spread with import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson leading the way.
But that margin proved short-lived as the Gin Kings dropped 25 points in the third period to cut their deficit to just three, 67-64, after Jamie Malonzo started catching fire with nine markers in the frame alone. He continued waxing hot for the defending champions, burying two triples to make it an 80-77 disadvantage in the fourth.
TNT, though, had some answers. RR Pogoy and Mikey Williams fired back-to-back three-pointers to send the Tropang Giga to an 88-80 cushion with 3:48 left. Williams again launched a long basket before Hollis-Jefferson put the punctuation with a slam, 95-80.
Hollis-Jefferson showed the way as he came close to a triple-double with 23 points, 19 rebounds, nine assists, and two steals while Pogoy finished with 17 markers, seven boards, and three dimes.
Calvin Oftana stepped up with 14 points off the bench alongside 13 rebounds and two steals.
The teams will look to take a 2-1 series lead come Game Three on Friday.
—Bea Micaller/JMB, GMA Integrated News
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