Anthony Semerad gave TNT a big lift late and the KaTropa stunned the top-seeded Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 107-103, for a 2-0 semifinals lead in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Semerad sank four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including a right corner triple that put TNT ahead for good, 105-103, with 52.7 seconds left.
The Fil-Australian forward uncorked 12 of his 14 points in the finals five minutes and 18 seconds.
“Tony (Semerad) made big shots today and again, those are the things that could really help us in the playoffs,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela.
“Teams will really focus on Joshua (Smith) defensively that’s why I said after the first game that the locals should contribute in Game 2,” he added. “And today, it was a collective effort but what Tony did was more glaring because everything he hit were all in the fourth quarter.”
Import Joshua Smith, who dominated the Gin Kings in Game 1 with 35 points and 13 rebounds, was held to just 16 points ad 16 rebounds, but the hefty big man still came up with a crucial basket–a putback that sealed the KaTropa’s victory with 8.1 ticks to go.
Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio each had a game-high 22 points for Ginebra, which took a 103-102 edge after a Tenorio triple with 1:12 remaining.
TNT shoots for a sweep on Thursday night at Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra is facing a tall order down 2-0, but since 1993, the Gin Kings remain the only team to overcome such deficit in a best-of-five series when they shocked Talk ‘N Text in the 2010 Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
Jayson Castro shot just 5-of-15 from the field after going 1-of-10 in the semis opener on Sunday but he did, however, closed in on a double-double with 12 points and eight assists with his last dish leading to Semerad’s go-ahead 3-pointer.