The TNT KaTropa continued their rampage in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup, ending the elimination round on top of the standings after a 98-83 beatdown of the Magnolia Hotshots Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
TNT notched its eighth straight victory to finish with a 10-1 record heading into the quarterfinals. The KaTropa will face the winner of the knockout match between Alaska and Meralco on Friday.
Magnolia, on the other hand, secured the fifth place even prior to this game. The Hotshots will face fourth-seeded Ginebra in a best-of-three series in the next round.
Terrence Jones led the way with 26 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and five blocks in the victory.
The KaTropa began pulling away as early as the second quarter, thanks to a combined scoring spurt from Jones and RR Pogoy. They built as high as a 21-point edge midway through the fourth, effectively shutting down any of the Hotshots attempt to recover.
"It's a good win for us, we just wanted to end the eliminations on a winning note and at the same time make winning a habit," said TNT coach Bong Ravena. "We're building our consistency so that we can carry over our record and our momentum to the playoffs."
Magnolia absorbed its fourth straight loss for a 5-6 card.
All of the Hotshots' double-digit scorers came off the bench. Paul Lee paced the Hotshots with 23 points, while PJ Simon and Ian Sangalang combined for 31 points.
Former NBA player Rakeem Christmas, who replaced James Farr, had an underwhelming debut for Magnolia as he posted eight points and 14 rebounds.
TNT (98) - Jones 26, Pogoy 20, Castro 13, Heruela 13, Magat 8, Trollano 5, Reyes 5, Semerad A. 3, Washington 3, Bono 2, Semerad D. 0, Gollo 0, Taha 0, Casino 0.
Magnolia (83) - Lee 23, Simon 16, Sangalang 15, Jalalon 9, Christmas 8, Pingris 6, Barroca 2, Dela Rosa 2, Herndon 2, Ramos 0, Melton 0, Reavis 0, Abundo 0.
Quarters: 20-19, 45-37, 74-59, 98-83.
- Magnolia and Ginebra will face off in a best-of-three quarterfinal series for the second straight conference. The Hotshots prevailed in the last Manila Clasico playoffs and went on to lose to San Miguel in a seven-game finals battle.
- The last time that TNT finished on top of the league standings was in the 2016 Governor's Cup, where it lost to Meralco in the semifinals.
- With TNT's win, NorthPort ended up as the number two seed and arranged a quarterfinals meeting with San Miguel. Before this conference, the Batang Pier's highest finish was fourth place back in the 2015 Governors' Cup, where they lost to Magnolia in the quarterfinals despite their twice-to-beat advantage.
Magnolia - July 20 (Saturday) vs Ginebra at the Mall of Asia Arena
TNT - July 21 (Sunday) vs Alaska or Meralco at the Smart Araneta Coliseum