The TNT Tropang Giga struggled with the absence of their starting big man Kelly Williams.
But they still found answers on how to limit 6’11” San Miguel Beer slotman JuneMar Fajardo.
But it took more than one person to do the job as the Tropang Giga grabbed Game 1 of their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series with an 89-88 win over the Beermen at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga Sunday evening.
“No one can stop JuneMar. Our best is to stay and contain him and do our best,” said Tropang Giga coach Chot Reyes after they earned the momentum in their semis affair.
With the Beermen in control the boards, the Tropang Giga instead took command with their better shooting percentage, making 39 out of 90 attempts.
And with Williams sitting out due to health and safety protocols, defense on Fajardo became the work of four guys—Roger Pogoy, Poy Erram, Dave Marcelo and Troy Rosario.
“It was a hell of an effort, a superhuman (effort) by our bigs,” said Reyes.
Pogoy played a big role on both ends of the floor, coming up with a season-high 23 points, including 10 in a pivotal third quarter.
But it was on the defensive end where Pogoy shone most as he denied Marcio Lassiter’s game-winning attempt at the buzzer.
CJ Perez led the Beermen with 23 points, while Fajardo added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
After Pogoy put TNT ahead, 89-84, with his driving layup, the Beermen continued attacking and scoring to come close to within one off a pair baskets from Perez with 36 ticks left. Pogoy then safeguarded the win for TNT with his defensive effort on Lassiter.