Jayson Castro came through with a vintage performance and powered TNT past Magnolia, 87-74, in Game 6 of the semifinal round in the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup, Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Quezon City.
The 36-year old Castro, once regarded as the best point guard in Asia, dropped 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting with 2-of-4 coming from beyond the arc to lead the flagship team of the MVP group past the Hotshots, 4-2, and into their third straight All-Filipino Cup Finals.
“As a veteran, kailangan ko na talaga mag-takeover kasi may mga nakikita akong binibigay nilang shots. And then inexploit lang din namin ‘yung defense nila. Ayun nga, nabutasan namin,” said Castro during the post-game presser with the best player of the match together with the winning coach.
“Through all of the ups and downs of the series, the players always came together, huddled, talked among themselves, and found ways to give each other strength, to give each other power,” shared TNT mentor Chot Reyes.
Mikey Williams added 15 points while Roger Pogoy and Glenn Khobuntin chipped in 14 and 11 markers, respectively.
The Hotshots, who were also beaten by the Tropang Giga in the championship round of the same conference last season, were paced by Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva who both finished with 16 points. Jio Jalalon scored 11 while Paul Lee contributed 10.
The Chito Victolero-mentored squad shot a horrendous 27% from the field, making only 23 out of 84 attempts. In comparison, their opponents drained 30 out of 65 attempts for a more respectable 46%.
TNT 87 – Castro 26, M.Williams 15, Pogoy 14, Khobuntin 11, Erram 8, K.Williams 4, Rosario 4, Montalbo 2, Reyes 0, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Magnolia 74 – Sangalang 16, Abueva 16, Jalalon 11, Lee 10, Dela Rosa 6, Laput 4, Wong 3, Barroca 3, Dionisio 2, Escoto 2, Corpuz 1, Brill 1, Reavis 0, Ahanmisi 0, Zaldivar 0.
Quarterscores: 21-17, 42-34, 60-55, 87-74.