TNT survives SMB's endgame push to take semis opener

TNT survives SMB's endgame push to take semis opener

RR Pogoy posted a season-high to lead the Tropang Giga. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—TNT heaved a sigh of relief in the end as San Miguel's final rally fell short, conceding an 88-89 defeat in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal opener on Sunday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

After dealing the Tropang Giga their lone loss so far in the conference in shutdown fashion, the Beermen had another chance to shock them, but their last gasp ended in misery.

Up by 11, 71-60, entering the fourth quarter, the Tropang Giga found themselves in huge trouble as the Beermen to within one, 84-85, with 2:58 left.

Poy Erram and RR Pogoy scored on clutch layup to give TNT some breathing room, 89-84, with 1:34 to go.

CJ Perez, however, responded with back-to-back layups to cut the lead back to one with 36 seconds left.

Pogoy tried to ice the game from three-point range, but he missed his potential dagger and SMB called time with nine seconds remaining.

Marcio Lassiter had an outright chance to win it for the Beermen, but he missed his go-ahead floater as time expired.

Pogoy finished with a season-high 23 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Tropang Giga, who went 1-0 up in their best-of-seven series.

Jayson Castro added 16 markers, six boards, six dimes, and two swipes off the bench.

Perez also tallied 23 points alongside five caroms and two blocks, while June Mar Fajardo added 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, one block, and one steal for the Beermen.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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