|Joshua Smith hammered it down over Japeth Aguilar to highlight a dominating performance as TNT tripped Ginebra in Game 1.|
By: Patrick Sutare
PASAY – TNT made use of its apparent edge over Ginebra at the maximum advantage as it fend off the latter on Sunday night, 100-94, at the Mall of Asia Arena to seize Game One of their best-of-five Semifinal series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Joshua Smith’s size and heft made him a match-up nightmare for the Gin Kings as he had a feast while anchoring the shaded area that fuelled the Ka-Tropa’s offensive assault.
The sturdy big man posted 35 points and 13 rebounds while facing a rather little opposition from the hapless Ginebra bigs especially in the second half.
Smith’s vital presence on TNT’s attack was proven when Ginebra mounted their patented come back prowess late in the payoff period.
As TNT coach Nash Racela decided to give his import a breather, the Gin Kings channelled their ‘’Never Say Die’’ spirit once again to pull to within two with less than three minutes left in the game, 92-90.
The bid, however, fell short for the Barangay as they were held off as soon as Smith was fielded back in.
Jayson Castro had his worst shooting night for years to say the least, but he made sure that his first and only field goal of the game would matter the most.
Staring at a one-possession lead, 97-94, Castro was unaltered by his shooting woes as he launched and drilled a back-breaking triple with 12.7 seconds to go to ice the game for TNT.
Roger Pogoy, meanwhile, was the unsung hero for the Ka-Tropa as he tallied 17 points to back up the scoring for his team. Ranidel de Ocampo had 12.
Justin Brownlee led Ginebra with 24 points and 14 boards but was obviously exposed inside being the undersized import that he is. LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar had 15 each as Ginebra goes back to the drawing board and shoot to solve the hurdle that is the size of TNT’s Smith.
Game 2 is on Tuesday still at the MOA Arena.
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