MANILA, Philippines – It came down to the final rebound play, and the TNT Tropang Giga prevailed thanks to Calvin Oftana, who snagged the offensive carom and made the game-winning score at the buzzer.
At the PhilSports Arena in Pasig on Sunday, TNT defeated San Miguel Beer 105 to 103 in a thrilling game after Rondae Hollis-Jefferson missed an opportunity to score. Oftana won the crucial rebound fight against Rodney Brondial and CJ Perez and made a follow-up shot.
With an 8 to 1 win-loss record, the Tropang Giga extended their winning streak to six game the s, moving the Beermen down to second place at 7 to 2 and taking sole possession of first place in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Both teams are currently concentrating on their upcoming appearances in Japan’s EASL Champions Week. By the middle of March, they were back in the PBA, playing in the final two games of the Governors’ Cup preliminary round.
With their courageous stand in this match without their top two shooters, RR Pogoy and Mikey Williams, the Tropang Giga gained ground on their former co-leader Beermen.
When Williams sprained his ankle with two minutes left in the second quarter, he was having a strong game. He had 11 points, three rebounds, and one assist.
In the tense game, neither team had a lead larger than eight points, and he was taken to the bench by his teammates, he was unable to come back.
With Pogoy and Williams out of the picture, the Tropa went to Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, Hollis-Jefferson, and Oftana who stayed in the game and even held a six-point lead, 83 to 77, at the end of the third.
At the start of the fourth, with the score tied at 83, the Beermen capitalized on a series of Tropa turnovers to pull even. From that point on, the two teams fought tooth and nail to the very end.
In the final seconds of the game, Cameron Clark’s three-point play off Oftana gave San Miguel a 103 to 103 tie.
The game’s iconic conclusion followed, in which Oftana outwitted two SMB adversaries in a rebound play before scoring the game-winning basket just before the final buzzer.
The former San Beda star recorded a double-double in the extended play, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while also dishing out six assists.
Castro led the squad in scoring with 21 points, and Hollis-Jefferson finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Perez, June Mar Fajardo, and Jericho Cruz each scored 25, 12 and 10, while Clark finished first among scorers with 30, plus 11 rebounds and 4 assists.
In the last 13 seconds, Fajardo was not in action for the Beermen because Brondial replaced him.