TNT asserts semis spot, upsets Alaska

Terrence Jones capitalized on the do-or-die match between TnT KaTropa and Alaska Aces, Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. Dennis Jerome Acosta
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong

QUEZON CITY - The TNT KaTropa went on a late rally of the Alaska Aces to take their spot in the semis of the PBA Commissioner's Cup with a 104-93 win on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Terrence Jones exploded in the fourth period, scoring half of his 37 points in the quarter alone. 

Alaska started the opening quarter with a statement that they wanted to replicate their victory against TnT last Sunday by holding the KaTropa scoreless; 4-0, until Jones was able to sink a field goal in with 10:11 to play.

Simon Enciso scored back to back triples to extend the advantage of the Aces to 8 points; 25-17 with 1:13 left in the game.

The quarter ended with Jeron Teng scoring a through a lay-up, pushing the Aces to a 8-point lead; 27-19.

Second quarter saw exchanges of grit and lead between both teams as TnT began to chase Alaska's lead but the Aces battled them through.

The Aces lead as much as 13 points but ended the quarter with a 10-point advantage; 54-44.

The second half had been a story told by TnT, more than Alaska's as the KaTropa moved in little by little to cut the lead of the Aces. The third quarter eventually ended with the KaTropa trailing by only 2; 79-81.

Jones only needed the 4th period to lead the KaTropa to victory, opening the quarter with a jump shot to tie the ball game at 81-all.

Alaska was able to recover with the lead as Diamon Simpson broke the tie off a floating jump shot to tally in 83-81 for the Aces. 

It was Jones' floating jump shot made with 7:03 left to play that opened up the run of the Ka-Tropa to snatch the momentum away from the Aces. 

Troy Rosario and Jayson Castro both scored baskets to complete a 6-0 run of TnT, making it a 6-point advantage; 93-87.

Alaska was able to recover a bit, cutting the lead to as low as 4 points but Jones puts up a show and scored 7 points, 4 of which are from the free throw area, pushing the KaTropa to an 12-point lead; 102-90 with only 24 seconds left in the game.

Simon Enciso trims it to a 9-point lead by scoring a triple; 93-102 but time is not on the Aces side that Simpson had to foul Jones with only 16 seconds left. 

Jones was able to convert from the line, making it an 11-point advantage to upset the Aces.

"What a tough game, buti na lang we came back. During our first game, sabi namin, we have to play harder than the last game. Buti na lang hindi kami bumitaw, respect to Alaska because they made us tougher. Credit to players like [Terrence] Jones, and our locals, Troy [Rosario], Brian [Heruela], Roger [Pogoy], Jayson [Castro], Don [Trollano]. We have to prepare for Ginebra, back to the drawing board as the game starts on Friday," said TnT Head Coach Bong Ravena.

The KaTropa booked a meeting with Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the semifinals, which will commence on Friday back at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

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