MANILA, Philippines -- Even with Mikey Williams scoring just three points through three quarters, the TNT Tropang GIGA were well in control of their game against the Magnolia Hotshots on Wednesday night.
TNT built a comfortable 70-54 advantage against the Hotshots after the third frame in Game 4 of their semifinal series in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup, despite Magnolia forcing Williams to miss six of his seven attempts from the field.
"We keep repeating it, but we're a team. Mikey is a big part of the team, but he's not the only part of the team," TNT coach Chot Reyes said, when asked how they survived Williams' subpar start.
"I think that's a huge credit to the guys who continue to step forward and take up the cudgels. They're doing an excellent job defending him, but that gives the other guys, like Poy [Erram], opportunities," he pointed out.
Williams may have been held in check, but Magnolia had no answer for Erram, who had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds through three quarters. Glenn Khobuntin also stepped up, scoring nine points in the third period where TNT broke the game open.
The prolific Williams still got his numbers. After struggling in the first three periods, he found his touch in the final frame where he made four of his six shots for 12 points. He put the finishing touches on TNT's 102-84 demolition of the Hotshots, a win that put them one win away from a return to the All-Filipino Finals.
Reyes was pleased to see that his players were not discouraged by Williams' struggles; instead, they took it as a challenge to fill in the gaps.
"We just take advantage of the opportunities presented by their extra concentration on Mikey defensively," the coach said. "We anticipated that Mikey would struggle in scoring in the first half."
"So we just made sure that we spread it a little bit, made sure other guys had opportunities. I think that was the key," he added.
Erram finished the game with 19 points and 13 boards to earn Best Player honors, while Roger Pogoy (18) and Troy Rosario (15) also reached double-digits.
TNT now has a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series and can clinch a Finals spot with another win on Friday, still at the Araneta Coliseum.