PBA: Jayson Castro takes charge, lifts TNT past Magnolia

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2022 07:08 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2022 08:03 PM

TNT's Jayson Castro takes the game-winning three-pointer against the Magnolia Hotshots in Game 3 of their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series. PBA Images.
TNT's Jayson Castro takes the game-winning three-pointer against the Magnolia Hotshots in Game 3 of their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series. PBA Images.

MANILA (UPDATED) - Jayson Castro outdueled Mark Barroca down the stretch to lift the TNT Tropang GIGA to a thrilling 93-92 triumph over the Magnolia Hotshots, Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Barroca had given Magnolia the lead, 92-90, with a clutch layup with just 9.8 seconds to play in Game 3 of their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series. But he left too much time on the clock for TNT, and "The Blur" was ready to answer.

Castro drilled the go-ahead three-pointer with 2.4 seconds left to give TNT back the lead, and a last ditch attempt by Paul Lee was well off the mark. Thanks to Castro's big shot, the defending champions now have a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven semifinals series. 

"Ito 'yung sinasabi nating, talo na, nanalo pa, pero natalo na, tas nanalo pa," TNT coach Chot Reyes said after the game. 

"Two evenly-matched teams, equally desiring to win, fight it out. In the end, it comes down to who will make that shot. Fortunately for us, tonight it was us," he added.

Castro finished the game with 16 points and six assists, while TNT center Poy Erram earned Player of the Game honors as he put up 22 points and eight boards. Mikey Williams was limited to 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting, but he did have 10 assists and five rebounds. 

It was a come-from-behind win for the Tropang GIGA, who trailed by as much as 10 points and were thoroughly outplayed in the third quarter by the Hotshots. Calvin Abueva took charge in the period, where Magnolia outscored TNT 32-19 to take a 73-66 lead entering the final quarter.

Momentum swung in TNT's favor when Roger Pogoy drew the sixth and final foul against Calvin Abueva with still 4:29 left. He completed the three-point play to give the Tropang GIGA an 85-82 advantage.

But Ian Sangalang responded for Magnolia, scoring on back-to-back possessions to push his team ahead anew, 86-85. The Hotshots' defense also came alive, as they forced three consecutive turnovers on Williams. 

Williams' last error led to a foul on Paul Lee, who drilled two charities for an 88-85 Magnolia lead with 2:09 left. But in the next possession, Glenn Khobuntin fished for Sangalang's sixth foul, and knocked down both free throws to make it a one-possession game.

A poor inbound pass by Rome dela Rosa paved the way for a Castro and-1 that gave TNT a 90-88 lead with 1:35 to go, and it appeared as though the defending champions would secure the win when Pogoy rejected a Lee layup and Aris Dionisio missed a follow-up. Off a scramble for the ball, Williams found himself wide open for a bucket but shockingly missed a point-blank shot, and on the other end, Barroca converted the layup that knotted the count at 90.

"Mikey, he's not gonna be hot all the time. Except, I almost fell off my seat when he missed that layup, that wide-open layup," admitted Reyes. "But that's basketball, right. You miss a wide-open layup like that, but you make a three-point shot under duress."

A missed triple by Erram gave the possession back to Magnolia, and Barroca again took charge with his clutch layup. It was Castro, however, who had the final say in the ball game.

"Magnolia had a couple of double-digit leads, we just kept our poise and we just kept telling our players to stay in the game and stay within what we do," said Reyes. "Just waiting for an opportunity. I think that helped us in the end."

Abueva had 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists in 30 minutes, while Sangalang scored 17 points and grabbed nine boards before fouling out. Barroca finished with 15 points. Lee, however, continued to struggle as he had just nine points on 2-of-11 shooting, while Jio Jalalon was limited to four points in 20 minutes.

The Scores:

TNT 93 –Erram 22, Castro 16, Khobuntin 15, M.Williams 15, Rosario 8, Pogoy 7, K.Williams 7, Montalbo 3, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0

MAGNOLIA 92 –Abueva 18, Sangalang 17, Barroca 15, Dionisio 10, Dela Rosa 9, Lee 9, Wong 6, Jalalon 4, Corpuz 2, Laput 2, Escoto 0

QUARTERS: 18-24, 47-41, 66-73, 93-92.