By Adrian Stewart Co
Jayson Castro carried the scoring cudgels for the TNT Tropang Giga in the endgame as they cruised to a 95-92 win over Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals last night at the AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Pampanga.
With the score tied at 81-all, Castro drained two free throws while Bobby Ray Parks Jr. converted a layup for an 85-81 edge. The Fuel Masters managed to cut the deficit to 85-87 but a triple by Castro and a layup gave TNT a 92-88 edge.
The Fuel Masters made its last push with a triple from RJ Jazul to cut the deficit to 91-92 but a split free throw by Simon Enciso and two more freebies from Castro sealed the win for the Tropang Giga.
Castro finished the match with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Parks added 17 markers and Roger Pogoy and John Paul Erram contributed 16 and 15 markers apiece for the Tropang Giga.
The Tropang Giga had a flat start as they were down 16-24 after the opening quarter before mounting a huge second quarter rally behind Parks and Erram to come to within 36-37 at the half.
TNT went on with its run in the third period behind Pogoy, Jeth Troy Rosario and Ryan Reyes to build a 51-42 advantage but Phoenix countered with its own rally to knot the count at 81-all in the fourth period.
Jazul finished the match with 21 points, Jason Perkins added double-double 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Calvin Abueva and Alex Mallari had 13 markers each for the Fuel Masters.
Phoenix was decimated as early as the opening period with star guard Matthew Wright going down with a sprain ankle. The Filipino-Canadian guard scored just two points in six minutes.
TNT 95 – Castro 20, Parks 17, Pogoy 16, Erram 15, Reyes 11, Montalbo 6, Rosario 5, Enciso 4, Carey 1, Washington 0.
PHOENIX 92 – Jazul 21, Perkins 15, Abueva 13, Mallari 13, Garcia 12, Heruela 6, Chua 3, Intal 3, Wright 2, Marcelo 2, Rios 2, Reyes 0, Napoles 0.
Quarterscores: 16-24, 36-37, 67-61, 95-92./ASC, WDJ