The Mikey Williams puzzle continues to baffle Magnolia.
Just like in their semi-bubble finals of the same tournament in Bacolor, Pampanga last year Williams again provided the scoring sock TNT needed in fashioning a 108-96 mauling of the Hotshots Wednesday at the start of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The reigning scoring champion scattered 18 of his game-high 26 points in the first half, including 12 in the second period that saw the Tropang Giga stretch their lead to as much as 47-30 before going on to complete the wire-to-wire win in the best-of-seven series opener.
Despite the relatively one-sided contest, TNT coach Chot Reyes didn’t put too much weight on it, knowing Magnolia is sure to bounce back hard in Game Two set Friday also at the Big Dome.
“We’re pretty sure they’re going to come up with something different the next time and it’s upon us to be ready for it and to prepare ourselves for it,” said Reyes. “This is just one win and we’re preparing for a long series.”
Williams also finished with five rebounds, and four assists and got plenty of help as Roger Pogoy produced 23 points and five assists, while Glenn Khobuntin came off the bench to contribute 18 points and seven rebounds.
Jayson Castro finished with 12 markers, including the bucket that pushed their lead to the game’s biggest at 84-60, late in the third canto.