The TNT Katropa and NorthPort Batang Pier ruled the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations and earned a twice-to-beat edge heading into the Quarterfinals.
Both teams certainly needed the advantage, as they got decimated by their respective lower-seeded opponents last night inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum — forcing a pair of do-or-die games on Wednesday, July 24.
Coming off a hard earned victory over the Meralco Bolts to secure the eight and final playoff slot, the Alaska Aces used the momentum to give the mighty Katropa a stunning 108-72 beating. The San Miguel Beermen, on the other hand, also extended their season by outlasting the Batang Pier, 98-84.
Here are some takeaways from last night’s postseason double-header.
TNT’s eight-game winning streak comes to an end
Losing only once in 11 games during the eliminations phase, the seemingly indestructible Katropa got served a slice of humble pie last night at the hands of the hungry Aces. The humiliating 38-point beatdown was a result of Katropa’s inability to hit their shots, shooting a putrid 29 percent from the field (23-for-77) and 6-of-35 from beyond the arc (35 percent). Alaska, meanwhile, made 42 percent of their field goal total attempts (41-for-96), with six players scoring in double figures.
The usually efficient duo of Terrence Jones and RR Pogoy were nowhere to be found last night. Jones finished with arguably his worst performance of the tournament (19 points, six boards, and seven turnovers), while the usually deadshot Pogoy missed the mark all night long. Pogoy pitched in just two points after making only one of his 10 tries from the field and missing all his five attempts from downtown.
The Aces simply outplayed KaTropa on all facets on Sunday, particularly on the rebounding department where they held a sizeable 73-47 advantage. Their bench also came in and provided a huge spark, outscoring TNT’s reserves, 53 to 25.
San Miguel bucks NorthPort’s late-rally to take Game 1
Leading as much as 17 points at one point, San Miguel’s fortitude was tested when the young NorthPort squad came roaring back and cut the deficit to just one early in the final frame. An 11-0 run by the Philippine Cup champs sealed the win, led by the conspiring efforts of Chris McCullough and Chris Ross.
The Batang Pier actually shot better from the field than SMB, but the latter’s more frequent trips to the line (16-for-22, 72 percent) proved to be a game changer. They also held a big advantage on total rebounds, 65-53, and a slight lead on second chance points, 18-16.
NorthPort also committed 25 infractions which the Beermen turned to 25 easy points.
(Images from PBA Media Group)