MANILA (UPDATED) - Rookie guard Mikey Williams led the way as the TNT Tropang GIGA locked up a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, thanks to an 88-67 victory over Barangay Ginebra.
Williams fired 27 points, while Jayson Castro put up 14 points, five assists and four rebounds as the Tropang GIGA cruised to a comfortable win, Sunday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
TNT improved to 8-1 in the conference, while also handing the Gin Kings a second consecutive loss. Ginebra now has a 3-5 win-loss slate, good for just ninth in the PBA's standings.
"We wanted to make sure that we exerted better effort than them, that we made better decisions and we executed better. I think we were able to achieve that this afternoon," TNT coach Chot Reyes said.
Ginebra got off to a strong start and led by six points, 14-8, with five minutes left in the opening period. But Williams sparked TNT's breakaway with eight unanswered points, including a pull-up three-pointer that gave the Tropang GIGA a 16-14 lead with three minutes to go.
It was a lead that TNT would never relinquish. Castro knocked down back-to-back triples early in the second quarter, and the TNT defense made life difficult for the Ginebra backcourt of Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio. They led 45-32 at the half.
The Gin Kings came alive late in the third period, with a pair of charities by Japeth Aguilar cutting the deficit to just seven points, 59-52. It was the closest they got in the second half, however, as their turnovers allowed Roger Pogoy and Castro to take easy points in the fourth period.
The Tropang GIGA went on to lead by as much as 24 points, 82-58, halfway through the final quarter when Kelly Williams shook off Christian Standhardinger's defense for a jump shot.
"That's one game," Reyes said of the win. "We're still a long way from the conclusion of this tournament. So we just want to make sure to just focus on what's in front of us."
Troy Rosario also had 14 points, and Pogoy finished with an all-around line of 13 points, eight rebounds, five steals, and two assists. TNT shot 43% from the field, and scored 27 points off the Gin Kings' 21 turnovers.
Aguilar led Ginebra with 18 points, while Thompson finished with 13 markers and seven rebounds. But Tenorio was held scoreless by the TNT defense, as the veteran point guard missed all 13 of his field goals including seven three-pointers. Ginebra made only 37% of their attempts, including only one of 16 shots from beyond the arc.