Glen Rice Jr. and Jayson Castro made the biggest plays down the stretch to tow TNT past Rain or Shine, 118-114, and into the semifinals in the PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The second seed KaTropa, who had a twice-to-beat edge, lost the first game to the pesky Elasto Painters, 106-102, and needed a strong finish in the do-or-die match to set up with a semis date with Ginebra.
With the scores tied at 114-114, Castro missed a long triple against the defense of J’Nathan Bullock but Rice was there to salvage the two points underneath giving TNT a 116-114 lead with 10 seconds left.
“It was a hard-fought victory, and we knew all along that going into the series facing Rain or Shine we will have a hard time,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela. “It just so happened we came out the better team.”
Rain or Shine had a chance to either win or tie the game but Bullock’s pass to Beau Belga went out of bounds with 1.4 seconds left on the clock.
“The breaks of the game favored us in the end.”
There were 16 lead changes and 16 ties overall in the game but the final six minutes saw the lead change hands five times and the scores knotted up four times.
One of those lead changes happened when Bullock put Rain or Shine up 114-112 at the 46-second mark after sinking two free throws.
Castro then tied it at 114-114 from the stripe as well after Bullock fouled him with 41 seconds left in the game.
Rice led all scorers with 34 points for TNT to go along 16 rebounds, and nine assists while Castro put up 20 points and 12 assists, with four happening in the fourth period.
Bullock led the Elasto Painters with 30 points while Belga added 18 points and 10 boards.