Huge Game 1 win is perfect salve for TNT's Joshua Smith

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2017 01:27 PM

TNT import Joshua Smith lofts a hook shot over San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo to win the game for the KaTropa. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – TNT import Joshua Smith is still feeling pain in his right foot, but this did not stop him from hitting the biggest shot of Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals against the San Miguel Beermen on Wednesday night.

Smith's availability for TNT was one of the big questions ahead of Game 1, with the hulking import still not at 100% following a foot injury that he suffered in Game 3 of their semifinals series against Barangay Ginebra.

Despite this, he still played for TNT in Game 1, scoring 21 points including the hook shot over SMB center June Mar Fajardo that gave the KaTropa a 104-102 lead with just 1.6 seconds left to play.

"We got the win," Smith told reporters after the victory. "It feels good to hit the game-winning shot. I'm not one of those guys who look at my stats. As long as my team scores more than the other team, I did my job."

The import reveals that he continues to take painkillers for his foot while also trying to get some rest, but the best remedy for the pain was their win.

"My foot is hurting, but it feels better when you win," he said. "So that's all that really matters."

Indeed, so fired up was Smith after the final buzzer that he went around the Big Dome, pumping his jersey and gesturing to the TNT fans.

"I can't repeat (what I said) on the airwaves," he later said. "My mom would kill me."

Making Smith's game-winner all the more impressive is that he had to briefly leave the game in the third quarter after getting tangled up with Fajardo. Still, he returned to the game and ended up playing just under 27 minutes.

"I just kept telling myself, 12 minutes, 12 minutes, 12 minutes," said Smith. "My thing is, as much as it is easy for me to pack up my stuff and leave, I want to keep playing."

"I came here with one goal, and I'm so close," he pointed out. "So I have to take it day by day."

Smith said he will continue to take painkillers for his foot, and TNT coach Nash Racela added that the import remains "day to day." 

Another import, Mike Myers, remains on hand should TNT need him, but Smith said all his focus is on Friday's Game 2, especially with San Miguel expected to make adjustments.

"They're a good team, and it came down to the last shot," Smith said. "This first game is indicative of the whole series. It's going to be tough. It's going to be whoever team that crawls it out, grinds it out."

"I'm glad we're the team that got the first win, so we're three steps closer," he added. 

Game 2 is on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum. 

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)