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TNT tops standings heading to playoffs after win at Magnolia's expense

Terrence Jones played inspired as his son came out to watch his game against the Magnolia Hotshots. He led the KaTropa to the topmost of the standings going to the playoffs. PBA Images
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong

MANILA - Terrence Jones was a few stats shy of making another triple-double finish as the TNT KaTropa edged out the Magnolia Hotshots, 98-83, in the final game of the PBA Commissioner's Cup eliminations on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The KaTropa set the tempo of the game early on, wanting to really seal the ballgame with a win and etch their spot at the top of the standings.

In contrast to Jones' stellar performance in the game, Magnolia Hotshots import Rakeem Christmas, who came in to replace James Farr, did not have the best debut with possibly the jet lag and the fatigue from the flight taking its toll on him.

TNT's outside shooting did work for them, especially when the ball is on the hands of RR Pogoy, who scored dagger after dagger against the Hotshots and allowed the KaTropa to lead as much as 21 points in the third period.

In the last 6 minutes of the fourth quarter, Peter June Simon had been a hero for the Hotshots.

Simon stepped up big in place of their fatigued import, scoring 16 points - including a three-pointer that cut the KaTropa lead to 18 points; 90-72, but the lead was just too big to overhaul.

Jones finished off the game with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists.

TNT's win paved the way for an early "Manila Clasico" with the Hotshots taking on the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the beginning of the playoffs on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The KaTropa, on the other hand will have to wait for the result of the knockout game between the Meralco Bolts and the Alaska Aces on Friday to determine who they will be going up against on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum for their stint in the playoffs.

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