PBA: Hot-shooting TNT forces decider against Phoenix Super LPG

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2020 08:59 PM | Updated as of Nov 25 2020 09:33 PM

Ray Parks took charge in the fourth quarter for TNT in Game 4 of their PBA Philippine Cup semis series against Phoenix Super LPG. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) TNT Tropang Giga found their mark from beyond the arc and outgunned Phoenix Super LPG, 102-101, in Game 4 of their semifinal series in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday.

TNT came out on top in a fourth quarter shootout against the Fuel Masters to send their best-of-five series to a deciding game on Friday, still at the AUF Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.

The Tropang Giga leaned on their hot shooting from long distance as they made 18 of their 46 three-pointers to get enough separation from the Fuel Masters, allowing them to weather Phoenix's last ditch rally.

Ray Parks Jr. scored 17 of his team-best 36 points in the fourth quarter to go along with six rebounds and three assists, and was superb in the end game when the Fuel Masters were knocking on the door. Jayson Castro got the call to start, and delivered 21 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

"Ang main goal lang talaga namin is to even the series," said TNT coach Bong Ravena afterward. "There's nothing to celebrate eh… We have to be ready for Phoenix also. We respect them so much, and we know they can play.

"Walang relax na mangyayari sa amin," he guaranteed.

The Tropang Giga, with their backs against the wall, came out ablaze to start the game and led 8-0 right out of the gate. They would extend that lead to 17 points, 57-40, early in the third period but the Fuel Masters showed tremendous grit in rallying back.

With Matthew Wright finding his rhythm, the Fuel Masters scored 11 unanswered points to end the third period and trim the lead to just one point, 69-68, heading into the fourth quarter. Momentum was on the side of Phoenix Super LPG as they outscored TNT, 30-21, in the frame.

In an explosive start to the fourth quarter, the two teams alternated shots, with RR Garcia's jumper keeping Phoenix Super LPG within distance, 78-75. But RR Pogoy and Parks drained back-to-back three-pointers that gave TNT some separation, 84-75, and it was an advantage they would nurse all the way to the final buzzer. 

Despite falling behind anew, the Fuel Masters kept pushing and managed to make it a four-point game, 96-92, with still a minute and a half left off two free throws from Justin Chua. But Parks took matters into his own hands, draining a step-back jump shot with 70 seconds to play that gave TNT a 98-92 spread.

Phoenix Super LPG had their chance to cut into the deficit. Thanks to their offensive rebounding, they had three shots in their next possession, but bricked all of them. Three-pointers from Jason Perkins and Matthew Wright in the final seconds came too little, too late for the Fuel Masters, as Parks and Simon Enciso converted their free throws to keep them at bay.

"We have to want that game so bad," Ravena said of the upcoming Game 5. "We have to work hard and really want that game."

Pogoy had 18 points for TNT, which also got a solid performance from veteran Jay Washington (six points, five rebounds, three assists, three blocks in 31 minutes) as Poy Erram and Troy Rosario continued to struggle. Enciso finished with 14 points. 

Wright finished the game with 34 points on 9-of-17 shooting, along with nine assists and five rebounds. Calvin Abueva had 17 points and 13 rebounds, but was also responsible for eight of Phoenix Super LPG's 25 turnovers. 

TNT feasted on the Fuel Masters' miscues, turning their 25 turnovers into 26 points. 

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