By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings raced to a 2-0 lead over the TNT Tropang Giga in their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals series after going on a late surge to take Game Two, 92-90, on Wednesday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.
Ahead in the series entering the contest, the Kings did themselves a favor by showing no let-up in coming back despite being in the ropes several times in Game Two to create further distance from the Tropang Giga in their Philippine Basketball Association All-Filipino championship joust.
Once again, the contest got off to a competitive start, with both teams not allowing one another to gain much headway.
But when the first quarter smoke cleared, Barangay Ginebra was on top by four points, 21-17.
In the second canto, the back-and-forth continued early on.
The count stood at 30-all midway into the frame before TNT went on a 10-6 run the rest of the quarter to hold a 40-36 advantage at the halftime break.
The Tropang Giga opened the third quarter with a 16-5 blitz in the first five minutes, led by Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario, to build a 15-point cushion, 56-41.
Barangay Ginebra, however, regained its footing after, with Stanley Pringle at the helm, charging back to tie the score at 68-all with 22 seconds left on the frame.
A Poy Erram basket off a rebound as the clock wound up gave TNT a slight lead, 70-68, heading into the fourth period.
Rocked in the previous quarter, the Tropang Giga came out aggressive at the start of the fourth, going on an 8-2 run to stretch their lead to six points, 78-72, with 9:22 left to play.
The Kings tried to get back lost ground but TNT continued to keep them at bay, with the Tropang Giga still ahead, 84-77, with under five minutes remaining.
Barangay Ginebra though got to level the count at 84-all with 1:53 to go.
Jayson Castro gave TNT a one-point edge, 85-84, after splitting his free throws with 53 ticks remaining, only to be negated by a Scottie Thompson triple in the ensuing play to give the Kings the lead, 87-85.
The Tropang Giga sued for time with 30 seconds left.
They went to Mr. Castro but his three-point heave failed to connect, forcing them to foul LA Tenorio after.
The door was still left open for TNT, 88-85, after Mr. Tenorio hit only one of his two free throws with 18 ticks on the clock.
Off a timeout, TNT went to Mr. Pogoy to tie the count but his triple attempt did not go through.
Mr. Tenorio was once again fouled with nine seconds to go and he hit both his charities to extend their lead to five points, 90-85, and they never looked back from there.
Mr. Pringle had a team-high 34 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds while Aljon Mariano had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Kings.
TNT, which played without top scorer Ray Parks Jr. because of calf injury, was led by Mr. Pogoy with 38 points, with Simon Enciso adding 15.
Game Three of the finals is on Friday at 6 p.m.