The TNT Tropang Giga drew the first blood in this series against the Magnolia Hotshots. Will they come away with another win to go up 2-0? Or, will the Hotshots prevent themselves from falling into a deeper hole?
Catch this game live on Friday, August 5 at 6 pm, Manila time.
TNT Tropang Giga (1-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kib Montalbo
- SG: Mike Williams
- SF: RR Pogoy
- PF: Kelly Williams
- C: Troy Rosario
The Tropang Giga absolutely laid waste to Magnolia right out of the gate of the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal round, defeating the Hotshots,108-96, in the series opener Wednesday night. It’s not going to surprise anyone who didn’t watch the game that it was Mikey Williams who led the Tropang Giga with 26 points on 50% (7/14) shooting from the field and beyond the arc (4/15). TNT actually had a double-edged sword in the backcourt in that contest, as RR Pogoy dropped 23 points.
But the real difference maker for TNT was its defense which was easy to overlook heading into the series. The Tropang Giga entered the game with a 96.4 defensive rating and proceeded to hold Magnolia down to just 36 FG%. The offense is always going to be there for the Tropang Giga. Even though they are also facing arguably the best defensive team in the PBA right now, as long as their defense holds (+6 blocks and +2 steals in Game 1), the Tropang Giga will have at least just have enough on the offensive end to come out on top in Game 2.
Magnolia Timpados Hotshots (0-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Paul Lee
- SG: Jio Jalalon
- SF: Calvin Abueva
- PF: Rome Dela Rosa
- C: Ian Sangalang
The Hotshots are left picking up the pieces following a disappointing performance in Game 1 against TNT. They were +7 on shot attempts and outrebounded TNT by a wide margin, 56-47, but a debilitating slow start killed their momentum. Magnolia was outscored in the first half, 54-37, and did not have enough in the second half to overcome the huge deficit.
Perhaps Magnolia will have to start both Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva in Game 2. Both players came off the bench in the series opener, with Lee firing just 9 points. Abueva was much better with 18 points but was just 3/10 from the field. It was also promising for Magnolia to see James Laput and Aris Dionisio score 12 and 14 points, respectively in Game 1. That should go a long way in feeding their confidence heading into a high-pressure, partly must-win Game 2.
Spread: The Hotshots (-1.5) cover.
Over/Under: Taking the Under (184.0).