The TNT KaTropa earned the first finals seat in the PBA Commissioner's Cup after notching a 103-92 win over the Barangay Ginebra Kings in Game 4 of the semifinals Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
TNT used a second-half surge to eliminate the defending champions and prevail 3-1 in the best-of-five series.
Terrence Jones got his fifth triple-double as he unleashed 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in the victory.
Troy Rosario shot an efficient 10-of-13 from the field to finish with 22 points alongside 11 rebounds, while Jayson Castro also played a key role with 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
The Kings waxed hot from the 3-point range early with Joe Devance and Stanley Pringle leading the way. Three straight outside shots to open the second quarter allowed them to build a seven-point advantage but the KaTropa caught up by aggressively attacking the paint.
RR Pogoy exploded for 14 points in the third quarter including back-to-back jumpers that swung the momentum to TNT's side. Clamping down on defense, the KaTropa's lead reached double-digits midway through the final frame.
Castro beat the shot clock buzzer with an off-the-glass 3 then Yousef Taha and Rosario hit consecutive baskets to cap off a 9-0 run that made it a 17-point ballgame with 2:43 left. Japeth Aguilar responded with six unanswered points but the Kings no longer had enough time to launch a comeback.
Aguilar and Justin Brownlee paced Ginebra in the loss with 27 points and nine rebounds each.
TNT 103 - Jones 24, Rosario 22, Castro 20, Pogoy 14, Heruela 9, Reyes 6, Trollano 6, Taha 2, Washington 0.
Ginebra 92 - Brownlee 27, Aguilar 27, Pringle 15, Devance 13, Tenorio 5, Thompson 3, Caguioa 2, Slaughter 0.
Quarterscores: 32-32, 58-62, 86-79, 103-92.
Tensions flared up early in the match. Greg Slaughter and Terrence Jones engaged in a verbal altercation at the end of the first quarter. Then Jayson Castro was called for a flagrant foul penalty one in the next period for tripping Mark Caguioa, who got away with an elbow on Castro in the same sequence.
The KaTropa only had seven 3-point shots in Game 4 after averaging 15 3s in their first two wins. They made up for their sudden dip in outside shooting by dominating the paint, 74-32.
TNT advanced to the finals for the first time since the 2017 Commissioner's Cup.