TNT inches closer to finals berth with huge Game 5 win over SMB

By Ivan Saldajeno

LOS BAÑOS--TNT took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinals after trouncing San Miguel, 101-94, in Game 5 of the series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Thursday night.

The KaTropa let a huge second quarter blow away but recovered in time to move to within a win from depriving the Beermen a third consecutive finals appearance in the season-opening conference.

TNT shut down SMB in the second period, limiting its opponent to only eight points after conceding 32 in the first en route to a 50-40 halftime lead. Ranidel De Ocampo would start the second half with a triple for the largest lead at 13, 53-40.

The Beermen, however, went on a 22-3 run later in the third quarter to reclaim the lead, 64-58.

The KaTropa bounced back at the end of the third to retake the advantage and started the fourth on a roll to stretch the lead to nine, 83-74.

SMB still came to as close as one, 82-83, with six minutes left in the game, but TNT went on a 10-3 run within the next four minutes to finally seal the win.

De Ocampo, Kelly Williams, and Jayson Castro each chipped in 18 points for the fourth-seeded KaTropa, who can eliminate the top-seeded Beermen in Game 6 on Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Arwind Santos led the Beermen, who need to win Game 6 to keep their three-peat hopes alive, with 18 points, but they lacked some help from their bench players, only getting 15 points from them.

Box Scores:

TNT 101-Castro 18, Williams 18, De Ocampo 18, Pogoy 11, Reyes 9, Rosales 8, Fonacier 7, Seigle 4, Carey 2, Tautuaa 2, Rosario 2, Rosser 0, Golla 0, Sumalinog 0

San Miguel 94-Santos 18, Cabagnot 17, Lassiter 16, Ross 15, Fajardo 13, Espinas 9, Reyes 4, Garcia 2, Agovida 0, Tubid 0

Quarterscores: 24-32, 50-40, 73-69, 101-94

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