By: Leobert Julian A.de la Peña
TNT Katropa went into the game hungrier and more confident, outworking the Beermen in almost every department of the game.
Katropa went fiery hot from rainbow country, dismantling SMB with a 109-96 victory in their game 1 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals last Sunday.
Despite going into the finals as the number one team in the league, TNT was still considered underdogs against the formidable SMB squad who again punched a ticket to the finals in straight years.
TNT import Terrence Jones wasn’t fazed at all as he toyed with SMB’s defense, tallying a monster double-double, 41 points, 12 rebounds, along with 8 dimes.
Coach Leo Austria of SMB took a page off of Tim Cone’s playbook when he benched 5-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and started Christian Standhardinger to match up against Jones to start the game.
The strategy backfired as Jones bullied Standhardinger at each possession.
SMB made adjustments and tried to cover Jones with multiple defenders to no avail.
With Jones leading the attack, the TNT locals displayed confidence as they gained momentum.
Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and Don Trollano all scored in double figures for Katropa.
Chris McCullough of SMB played a steady game chipping in 33 points.
The Beermen will go back to the drawing board and make adjustments against the surging Jones and TNT Katropa.
Game 2 is on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.