MANILA – TNT KaTropa drew first blood in the 2019 Honda PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals with a 95-92 Game 1 victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Trailing by as much as 10 points, the KaTropa slowly clawed its way back in the final quarter behind Jeth Troy Rosario, Terrence Jones and Jayson Castro to tie the ballgame at 89-all.
Baskets from Rosario and Jones gave KaTropa a 93-89 advantage but the Kings rallied to within 92-93 before the TNT completed its fight-back with a layup from Jones for a 95-92 edge.
Jones battled foul trouble to finish with 24 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks, while Rosario drained five triples to also contribute 24 markers and 10 boards.
Anthony Semerad also made his presence felt with 17 points but exited late in the game with a shoulder injury.
Jayson Castro and Roger Pogoy added 12 and 10 markers, respectively.
It was a seesaw battle in the opening half with the KaTropa slightly up 51-50 at the half before the Kings went on a rampage in the third to lead by as much as 10 points but could not hang on to the edge, reminiscent of their elimination round match.
For the defending champions Kings, Justin Browlee finished with near triple-double of 23 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, while LA Tenorio and Stanley Pringle submitted 18 markers each.
Meanwhile, the best-of-five semifinals series between the San Miguel Beermen and the injury-hit Rain or Shine Elasto Painters is set to commence at 6:30 p.m. at the Big Dome./PN