PBA: Williams waxes hot, powers TNT past Magnolia in Game 1

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2022 05:40 PM | Updated as of Aug 03 2022 07:34 PM

TNT's Mikey Williams puts up a jump shot against the Magnolia Hotshots. PBA Images.
TNT's Mikey Williams puts up a jump shot against the Magnolia Hotshots. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Mikey Williams poured it on early to fuel the TNT Tropang GIGA to a 108-96 triumph against the Magnolia Hotshots in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series, Wednesday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum.

Williams, the reigning Rookie of the Year, fired 18 of his game-high 26 points in the first half to set the tone for TNT. The Tropang GIGA went on to lead by as much as 24 points before fending off a last-ditch rally by the Hotshots to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Three other TNT players reached double-digits, with Roger Pogoy firing 23 points, Glenn Khobuntin contributing 18, and Jayson Castro coming off the bench to score 12 markers. TNT shot a blistering 48.1% from the field, making 13 of their 36 three-point attempts.

"This is one win, and we're preparing for a long series," TNT coach Chot Reyes said after their win. "Whether it's high scoring or not, our focus really is to get good shots, and not to turn the ball over."

"Magnolia, in transition, is deadly… For us, we just need to make sure that we don't need to turn the ball over too much for this team," he added.

Williams was the Finals MVP when TNT defeated Magnolia in last season's All-Filipino Cup finals, and the Fil-Am guard picked up from where he left off in that series.

He made six of his first 10 shots, including four three-pointers, to help the Tropang GIGA build a 54-37 advantage at the half. TNT drilled nine triples in the first two quarters, while Magnolia couldn't find its rhythm and went just 10-of-43 from the field.

The TNT lead ballooned to 24 points, 84-60, in the third quarter where Williams' teammates got in the act, notably Pogoy and Khobuntin. 

A flurry of points from Jiovani Jalalon got Magnolia within 13 points, 95-82, with still over seven minutes left but the Tropang GIGA had an answer every time the Hotshots got close. Back-to-back field goals by Troy Rosario and Pogoy pushed the TNT lead to 17, 105-88, with three minutes left and the Hotshots had few answers from there.

Calvin Abueva had 18 points, while Jalalon, Ian Sangalang, and Aris Dionisio each had 14 points for the Hotshots. But Paul Lee struggled, going 3-of-10 from the field for nine points, while Mark Barroca was limited to seven points.

Magnolia finished the game shooting just 36% from the field, including only 8-of-28 from long range. Two of their three-pointers came in the final 30 seconds of the game, when the score was all but settled. 

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The scores:

TNT 108 – M. Williams 26, Pogoy 23, Khobuntin 18, Castro 12, Montalbo 8, Erram 6, K.Williams 4, Marcelo 4, Tungcab 3, Rosario 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Alejandro 0, Cruz 0

MAGNOLIA 96 – Sangalang 14, Abueva 18, Jalalon 14, Dionisio 14, Laput 12, Lee 9, Barroca 7, Dela Rosa 5, Wong 2, Reavis 1, Zaldivar 0, Corpuz 0

QUARTERS: 28-19, 54-37, 86-66, 108-96