The Magnolia Hotshots successfully cut the TNT Tropang Giga’s series lead in half with a win in Game 3. Will the Hotshots even it all up this Wednesday after three full days of rest? Or, will Tropang Giga move a step closer to winning the title with a win in Game 4?
Catch this game live on October 27, 6 pm, Manila time.
The Magnolia Hotshots (1-2)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jio Jalalon
- SG: Paul Lee
- SF: Rome dela Rosa
- PF: Calvin Abueva
- C: Ian Sangalang
The Hotshots were not going to allow TNT to take a 3-0 lead, which would have virtually kicked Magnolia down an impossible hole. Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang answered the call in Magnolia’s Game 3’s 106-98 win. Lee put up 21 points, while Sangalang muscled out 20 points. But it was Marc Barroca who came through with a performance that shifted the tide in favor of the Hotshots, as he finished with 16 points off the bench.
Barrocca’s unexpected production helped negate Mikey Williams’ explosive performance. It appears that the way for the Hotshots to upend the Tropang Giga is by keeping up with the latter’s offense. The Hotshots are not having much success defensively in the series, so it would be crucial for them to coax ample scoring support from the likes of Barroca and consistency from their top guns in Lee, Sangalang, and Calvin Abueva, who had 14 points and eight rebounds in Game 3. With Troy Rosario doubtful to play for TNT going forward in the Finals, Sangalang and Abueva could have a field day again in the paint and on the glass in Game 4.
The TNT Tropang Giga (2-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Brian Heruela
- SG: RR Pogoy
- SF: Mikey Williams
- PF: Kelly Williams
- C: JP Erram
Sure, Magnolia beat the Tropang Giga in Game 3, but the Hotshots obviously still have no answer for Mikey Williams. The super rookie carved up the Hotshots’ defense once again, dropping his best performance to date in the series in Game 3 with 39 points and a record-breaking 10 triples. The Hotshots have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Williams, but at this point, it’s probably fair to say that he’s going to get his buckets no matter what.
Williams acts like a black hole for Magnolia’s defense, drawing all the attention while also stretching the floor for the likes of RR Pogoy, JP Erram, and Jayson Castro. As a team, TNT drained 16 threes in Game 3. This team is capable of doing it again, with Williams, Pogoy, Ryan Reyes, and Brian Heruela all ready to pull the trigger. The Tropang Giga are averaging 97.0 points in the Finals, which is even higher than their season average of 92.1 points.
The Hotshots averted a disastrous loss in Game 3, but they needed to shoot 50% from the field to beat TNT. That won’t happen again in Game 4. Take TNT to cover (-2).
Over/Under: TNT has established it can rack up points in this series, but the Hotshots have scored nicely in the last two games as well. Take the Over (184.0).