MANILA (UPDATED) - Mikey Williams exploded for 27 points as the TNT Tropang GIGA racked up a third consecutive win via an 87-72 rout of the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, Sunday evening at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Williams, playing in only his second game of the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup, showed that he is regaining the form that made him last season's Rookie of the Year, as he made 10 of 20 attempts from the field while adding six rebounds, seven assists and two steals for the night.
The Tropang GIGA improved to 5-2 in the conference while handing the Fuel Masters a second straight defeat. Phoenix Super LPG fell to 2-4.
Both teams were not at full strength, with Phoenix Super LPG missing Jason Perkins (personal reasons) and TNT being without Troy Rosario and Ryan Reyes over what Chot Reyes said was "wear and tear." The Tropang GIGA were also without JD Tungcab (knee) and Kib Montalbo (groin strain).
"They came out with a lot of effort in the first half," Reyes said of the Fuel Masters. "But I think our defense kind of wore them down, and forced them to miss after miss. We just gave ourselves enough opportunities to put shots up."
"Because of our defense, we gave ourselves a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances to get shots up, and we were able to convert," he added.
The Tropang GIGA took the lead for good with a five-point flurry in the final 90 seconds of the third quarter, four of which were scored by JJay Alejandro. They entered the final frame with a 62-58 advantage.
A three-pointer by Phoenix Super LPG rookie Tyler Tio made it a one-possession game, 63-61, with 11:33 left to play, but the Tropang GIGA broke the game open from there. Williams anchored a 10-0 blast that pushed them ahead, 73-61, with 7:37 left.
A Sean Manganti putback ended the silence for the Fuel Masters, but the TNT offense was on a roll by that point. Poy Erram's layup touched off another scoring run for the Tropang GIGA, and they cruised from there.
Roger Pogoy added 20 points for the Tropang GIGA, which shot 39% from the field and left plenty of points on the table by making just 10 of 22 free throws.
Sean Anthony had 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Tio also finished with 13 markers for Phoenix Super LPG. But they got a poor outing from Matthew Wright, who went 1-of-11 from the field for three points, and had as many turnovers (four) as assists.
Javee Mocon had 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Phoenix Super LPG.
TNT 87 – M.Williams 27, Pogoy 20, Khobuntin 9, Erram 8, Castro 8, Alejandro 7, Banal 3, K.Williams 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Heruela 1, Cruz 0
PHOENIX 72 – Tio 13, Anthony 13, Mocon 12, Jazul 11, Melecio 6, Manganti 5, Muyang 3, Wright 3, Lalata 2, Garcia 2, Pascual 2, Rios 0
QUARTERS: 16-18, 43-46, 62-58, 87-72