The TNT Tropang Giga can become the first team to book their spot in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup Finals by simply winning Game 5 of their semis series against the Magnolia Hotshots. Well, it’s not really going to be that simple because the Hotshots are desperate – and still dangerous. Will the Tropang Giga advance to the Finals? Or, will Magnolia live to fight another day?
Catch this game live on Sunday, August 12 at 3 pm, Manila time.
TNT Tropang Giga (3-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kib Montalbo
- SG: Mike Williams
- SF: RR Pogoy
- PF: Kelly Williams
- C: Troy Rosario
Mike Williams took a step back (figuratively speaking) in Game 4 and let JP Erram and Roger Pogoy led the Tropang Giga, and that’s a great sign for the Tropang Giga as they look to close it all out this Friday. Erram had a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Pogoy snapped out of his slump and put up 18 points with a 4/7 shooting from deep. With both Erram and Pogoy going off, Williams didn’t have to do most of the leg work, but his ability to stretch the floor certainly helped Pogoy and Erram.
TNT’s offense is simply being too much for even the Hotshots’ defense, particularly because the Tropang Giga are finding their rhythm from behind the arc. In fact, TNT has gone 29/71 from deep in the last two games for a Golden State-esque 40.8 3FG%. Don’t expect the Tropang Giga to pump the brakes on taking 3-pointers. They will have more extra confidence in pulling the trigger, knowing they have a two-game cushion.
Magnolia Timpados Hotshots (1-3)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Paul Lee
- SG: Jio Jalalon
- SF: Calvin Abueva
- PF: Rome Dela Rosa
- C: Ian Sangalang
The good news for the Hotshots is that Paul Lee appears to have recaptured his shooting touch. After making just 21.4% of his shots in Game 2 and coming up with a much more atrocious 18.2 FG% in Game 3, Lee scored 17 points in Game 4 on 46.2 FG%. If Magnolia is to go 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers in this series, it’s going to need Lee to be the lethal threat that he is the rest of the way. Still, Magnolia has to get the others to step up, a call that was answered in Game 4 by Aris Dionisio who came off the bench and scored 14 points.
Dionisio has been a sneaky asset for Magnolia in the series, having scored in double figures in three of four games so far, and it seems that TNT’s defense just keeps on forgetting him. It won’t come as a shock if he takes advantage of that lack of attention again in Game 5. However, Magnolia can’t afford to let Dionisio cover up for a bad shooting night from Calvin Abueva, who only had two points in Game 4. Magnolia’s perimeter defense has been exploited by the Tropang Giga of late, but the Hotshots can also hope that TNT’s outside shooting is due for a slump.
Spread: TNT (-4) covers.
Over/Under: Taking the Under (185.0)