Jayson Castro drained a debatable buzzer-beater to give TNT a Finals Game 1 victory over San Miguel, 86-84, Sunday night in the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The 36-year old Castro, who also delivered the game-winning triple against Magnolia during Game 3 of the semifinals, made the clutch jumper with 1.6 ticks left on the game clock. The shot was reviewed by game officials and eventually counted.
The rousing win gave the flagship team of the MVP group a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-seven championship series.
“Tinira ko lang, pumasok. Maganda rin ‘yung design ng play ni coach. Actually, para sa amin ni [Roger] Pogoy ‘yun, napasakto lang na wide-open ako,” said Castro shortly after the match.
“Nasa referee naman yun kung ano yung nakikita nila. Sa akin naman, alam ko naman na natira ko siya before mag-buzzer. Pero siyempre, nasa referees din,” he added.
Castro finished with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting to go with 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 22 minutes of action.
“It’s great that Jayson made the shot, but we gave ourselves a chance. The key was the stop we made in the previous possession, when we forced San Miguel to a shot-clock violation,” said TNT coach Chot Reyes during the post-game presser.
Pogoy paced the Tropang Giga with 26 points while Mikey Williams added 21.
June Mar Fajardo led the charge for the league’s winningest franchise with a huge double-double of 24 points and 16 boards. He drained 11 of 12 shot attempts for a 91% shooting clip and also had an assist and 2 blocks.
CJ Perez finished with 21 markers while Jericho Cruz was the only other Beerman who scored in double figures with 10.
Game 2 is set on Wednesday, August 24 at the same venue.