PBA Semis: TNT Katropa escapes feisty Meralco Bolts to take Game 1

MANILA Philippines – The Meralco Bolts almost upset the TNT Katropa late in the game. But the Jayson Castro-led team, managed to survive the thrilling game 1 of the best-of-five PBA Governors’ Cup semis series, 103-94 on Sunday, December 15, 2019 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Jayson Castro posted 17 digits to seal game 1 versus Meralco
Jayson Castro posted 17 digits to seal game 1 versus Meralco | Credit: ABS-CBN News

It didn’t take long for TNT and Meralco to heat up in the opener of their best-of-5 series. As soon as the ball was tipped of, both squads traded baskets immediately.

SEE ALSO: Northport blows out Ginebra by 34 points, takes Game 1

Not only both teams were active offensively, all players scrambled for every loose ball and didn’t want to give even an inch of an advantage to one another.

RR Pogoy who didn’t make it at the SEA Games due to a back injury came back big time to help his team leveled the score while Chris Newsome who won a gold medal in SEA Games 3x3 led his team in the first.

NBA Veteran KJ McDaniels tried to size up early against Allen Durham but the former Best Import suppressed McDaniels’ offensive rhythm to prevent TNT from getting away and awarded Meralco with 25-22 lead after the first 12 minutes of the game.

Newest TNT Katropa, Ray Ray Parks was silent in the first, but come 2nd quarter, the former D-Leaguer erupted from the outside to grab the lead from the Bolts.

KJ McDaniels atoned his subpar performance in the 1st period as he put the pressure on Allen Durham and he began dropping buckets to help his team on top of Meralco.

The combination of Parks and McDaniels was a hit for TNT as they dominated Meralco at the end of the half, 47-41.

McDaniels continued to sizzle in the third while TNT’s ace point guard, Jayson Castro chipped in significant numbers to maintain their lead.

On Meralco’s side, Allen Durham became almost unstoppable underneath the basket while being backed up by Baser Amer from the three point area.

Things got heated up between Durham and Castro mid of the 3rd period. The two stars had a verbal altercation after the Meralco enforcement shoved Ray Ray Parks in front of Castro.

After 3 quarters, TNT expanded its 6-point halftime advantage to 16, 77-61.

Coach Norman Black got so frustrated over his players as Katropa hit the 20-point lead and Chris newsome got fouled out at the start of the final quarter.

With over 6 minutes left, the Meralco Bolts started to storm back and cut the lead to just 14, Durham led his team from all angles as they attempted to go for an upset.

TNT got complacent a little bit as it allowed Meralco to rally and brought the lead to just 8 from as high as 22.

Despite a gallant scoring run, Meralco still fell short and handed game 1 to TNT, 103-94.

Game 2 of this series will be on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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