Jefferson Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of TNT battles his way to the basket against three Ginebra defenders in Game 5 of the PBA Governors Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Photo by Ernie Sarmiento

Tropang Giga near PBA title

April 20, 2023 Robert Andaya 419 views
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson dunks. Photo by Ernie Sarmiento

NBA veteran Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is doing very well.

Three-time PBA Best import Justin Brownlee is down due to food poisoning

And suddenly, TNT is now on the brink of winning its ninth PBA championship in 33 years.

Hollis-Jefferson finished with a triple double with 32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in 47 minutes as TNT defeated Barangay Ginebra, 104-96, to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 28-year-old Hollis-Jefferson, who was earlier named as best Import of the Conference, was his usual deadly self on a night Brownlee went down due to food poisoning.

The well-loved Gilas naturalized import managed 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting with six rebounds in a little over 25 minutes of action.

He left the playing court with Justin Brownlee scored 14 points with 7:19 remaining in the third period

Report said Brownlee was vomiting and dealing with a bad case of diarrhea hours before the pivotal Game 5. He was even put on IV on his way to the match.

With back-to-back wins, TNT and coach Jojo Lastimosa can now win the crown with another victory in Game 6 on Friday.

Game 7, if necessary, will be played on Sunday. Still, Lastimosa claimed the job is not yet over.

He told his players to brace for a long and tough fight on Friday when Brownlee will be back with a vengeance.

“He’s a warrior,” said Lastimosa, referring to Brownlee

Lastimosa also hopes Hollis-Jefferson, who played for the Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trailblazers in the NBA from 2015-2021, will continue to do well.

Last Wednesday, Hollis-Jefferson’s supporting cast also stepped up for TNT, which is gunning for its ninth championship in 21 finals appearances since taking over the Pepsi franchise in 1990.

Calvin Oftana added 20 points and eight rebounds, Mikey Williams had 15 points, and JP Erram, Glenn Khobuntin and Jayson Castro chipped in with 10 points apiece for the Tropang Giga.

A 32-18 performance, including a 14-0 run, in the third period was all TNT needed to turn the game around.

Best Player of the Conference awardee Christian Standhardinger topscored for Ginebra with 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting on top of 13 rebounds in 46 minutes.

Nards Pinto had 18 points for coach Tim Cone.

The scores:

TNT (104 )- Hollis-Jefferson 32, Oftana 20, M.Williams 15, Khobuntin 10, Castro 10, Erram 10, K.Williams 5, Montalbo 2, Marcelo 0.
Ginebra (95 )- Standhardinger 29, Pinto 18, Brownlee 14, Thompson 12, Gray 10, Malonzo 6, Pringle 6, J.Aguilar 0, Mariano 0.
Quarterscores: 28-26, 49-61, 81-79, 104-95

Game Friday:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. — TNT vs Ginebra