Glen Rice was outstanding but Jayson Castro also led with a double-double as TNT avoids going 0-2.
Glen Rice Jr. stepped up in the 4th quarter to lead TNT. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
The defending champions have already drawn the first blood in this series. They will now have the opportunity to take full control of the series and go within a win away from a second consecutive Governors' Cup Finals appearance and yes, they certainly have the firepower to do so.
On the other hand, the Talk N Text KaTropa are hoping to bounce back from a disastrous Game 1 performance and equalize the series at 1 game apiece. The only question is: Can the KaTropa find a way match up against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and avoid being down 0-2 coming into Game 3?
They built an 18-point lead. They blew that lead and let Ginebra take the lead, temporarily. Their import, Glen Rice Jr, didn't play an entire quarter due to foul trouble. The odds were against the TNT KaTropa and yet, they came out victorious, scoring an important 103-96 win to tie the best-of-5 series at 1-1.
As expected of them, the KaTropa opened the scoring chores of Game 2 as they held the Gin Kings scoreless for the first 2 minutes of the game until Justin Brownlee's lay-up gave Ginebra their first two points. TNT went up as high as 10-4 on Anthony Semerad's fastbreak lay-up which resulted to Ginebra calling for their first timeout of the game with 8:43 left in the opening quarter.
Both teams then struggled to get anything going as Ginebra scored the next 4 points only to miss the next few sots. On the other hand, Ginebra's defense bothered TNT players as Glen Rice Jr. hit a trey to break the KaTropa dry spell. Unable to control the rebounds early on, Ginebra fell to 19-10 after Moala Tautuaa hit a putback basket to force another timeout from Tin Cone. A dunk by Rice Jr. with 3:11 left in the quarter gave the KaTropa their first taste of a double-digit lead, at 23-12. Ginebra faced a 31-14 hole entering the second quarter as they were plagued by their 12 turnovers in the opening quarter alone.
The KaTropa held onto the double-digit lead during the early minutes of the second chapter Ginebra cut it down to 13 from the highest 18, twice. Then, Joe Devance decreased it to 12, at 36-24 after scoring on a lay-up. Then, Sol Mercado swished in a 3-pointer to cut down the lead to 9 only to be answered by Jayson Castro who hit a 3-pointer of his own to put the lead back to 12. Mercado later added another unguarded 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 6, at 39-33 with under 7 minutes to play before halftime as TNT's offense became as messy as it was like in Game 1.
Japeth Aguilar later soared on a monstrous dunk to the delight of the pro-Ginebra crowd and putting his team down by just 4. However, just when TNT was starting to regain control after Jayson Castro hit a trey and Glen Rice Jr. added another free throw, Glen Rice Jr. was called for his 4th personal foul with 3 minutes left in the first half. The Gin Kings inched closer to 49-47 at the end of the first half after Justin Brownlee hit one from long distance to end the half.
Brownlee led the way for Ginebra with 17 points on 50% field goal shooting in the first half. Sol Mercado added 8 markers off the bench. Defense was again, one of the reasons why Ginebra was able to come back from an 18-point lead as they blocked 5 TNT shots in the first half and the Gin Kings were able to take advantage of the KaTropa's mistakes as they scored 17 points off those 11 TNT turnovers.
On the other hand, nobody among the players of Nash Racela scored in double figures after the first two quarters as Glen Rice Jr. and Troy Rosario had 9 points each while Jayson Castro had 6 points- scored on 2 3-pointers. If there was one thing that enabled the KaTropa to hold onto the lead, it was their ability to run on the break as they were able to score 10 fastbreak points as compared to none by Ginebra.
Come the third quarter, the Gin Kings wasted no time as Joe Devance scored the first two points of Ginebra to tie the score at 49 all then Japeth Aguilar added another jumper to give Gin Kings the lead for the first time at 51-50. However, Ginebra has been plagued with turnover anew as Talk N Text, like they did in the first half, was able to run on the break and established a 10-point lead with under minutes to play in the quarter.TNT went on to lead the rest of the third quarter despite Glen Rice Jr. not playing due to foul trouble as the KaTropa led 76-69 heading into the 4th quarter.
The KaTropa re-established a double-digit lead during the early minutes of the final quarter as Kelly Williams scored on an alley-oop dunk to make 79-69 with under 3 minutes into the quarter, forcing Tim Cone to call an early timeout. TNT later pushed their lead to 13 off a Tautuaa basket with under 8 minutes remaining in the game. From that point on, TNT again, held onto the lead the rest of the way as Ginebra failed to sustain the same energy that they had which enabled them to battle for the lead in the 3rd quarter.With under a minute to go in the game, Sol Mercado drained two triples to bring the deficit down to 6 but it was already too late.
Glen Rice Jr. scored 21 points on an efficient 6 of 10 field goal shooting despite playing in the 4th quarter with 5 fouls. Jayson Castro had 20 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds while Troy Rosario had 16 points. One of the keys that triggered this important win for Talk N Text was their points off turnovers as they scored 23 points off Ginebra's 19 turnovers. The KaTropa also had 20 fastbreak points, many of those were also off the turnovers of Ginebra.
For the losing team, Justin Brownlee had 25 points and 10 rebounds while LA Tenorio had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and a steal. Sol Mercado added 14 points off the bench for Ginebra who was hounded all game long by the defense of TNT which forced the Gin Kings into turnovers that took away all of the possible opportunities to mount a comeback, especially in the 4th quarter.
TNT - 103
Rice Jr. 21, Castro 20, Rosario 16, Pogoy 14, Tautuaa 10, Williams 7, Semerad 5, Seigle 4, Reyes 2, Nuyles 1, Hernandez 1, Chua 1, Golla 0, Carey 0, Lingganay 0
Ginebra - 96
Brownlee 25, Tenorio 17, J. Aguilar 14, Mercado 14, Thompson 8, Slaughter 8, Devance 4, Cruz 4, Caguioa 2, Helterbrand 0, Ferrer 0, Jamito 0, Mariano 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
31-14, 49-47, 76-69, 103-96