The TNT Tropang Giga can be crowned as the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Champions as early as this Friday, but don’t tell that to the Magnolia Hotshots, who are looking to extend the series for at least one more game.
Catch this game live on October 29, 6 pm, Manila time.
The Magnolia Hotshots (1-3)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jio Jalalon
- SG: Paul Lee
- SF: Rome dela Rosa
- PF: Calvin Abueva
- C: Ian Sangalang
The Hotshots are in desperation mode, as they are a loss away from seeing their title dreams go up in flames. Calvin Abueva, fresh off his Best Player of the Conference Award win, tried to tow Magnolia into a victory in Game 4, but his 28-point effort off the bench was not enough. Magnolia’s top guns have been producing offensively, but it’s become clear that Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, and Abueva are not enough to overcome TNT. Magnolia laid the blueprint to beat the Tropang Giga in Game 3, so it’s just a matter of the Hotshots executing that same approach in the next game.
In Game 3, Jio Jalalon had 11 points, while Mark Barocca dropped 16 more. Jackson Corpuz also chipped in seven points. In Game 4, the three combined for just 15 points. It’s going to be easier said than done, but Magnolia needs to shoot at a high percentage and get more shots as well. When the Hotshots won Game 3, they buried 50% of their shots and countered TNT’s 3-point shooting prowess by sinking 32 shots inside the arc to just 16 by the Tropang Giga.
The TNT Tropang Giga (3-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Brian Heruela
- SG: RR Pogoy
- SF: Mikey Williams
- PF: Troy Rosario
- C: Kelly Williams
By and large, the Tropang Giga have made the Finals look like child’s play to them. Each of their three wins in the series was at by at least 12 points. Magnolia entered the Finals with a respected defense, but it’s also one that the Tropang Giga have repeatedly mocked with their incredible offense powered mainly by the soul-crushing hands of Mikey Williams. The super rookie carved up Magnolia’s defense once again in Game 4, finishing with 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field while going 6 of 11 from deep. He has left zero doubts about his ability to own Hotshots defenders.
Williams is scoring at will, and it would hardly surprise those who’ve followed the series if he dropped another monster game this Friday to help TNT clinch the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup championship. And it’s not like he’s the only problem for Magnolia. RR Pogoy, Jayson Castro, JP Erram, and Brian Heruela have also been busy punishing the Hotshots in the series. One more win and TNT is back. Expect them to go for the Hotshots’ throat Friday.
It’s tempting to think that the Hotshots have at least one more good game in them in the series. That good game will be enough for them to cover the spread (+4) in Game 5.
The Tropang Giga have scored at least 105 points in each of the last three games of the series. Expecting the same trend to continue, with the Hotshots scoring just enough to make the Over bettors happy. Take the Over (184.0).