PBA Commissioner's Cup: TNT overcomes Meralco test, sets up semifinals series against Ginebra

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It took another period of overtime for them to do it, but the TNT KaTropa have made it to the semifinals.

The KaTropa battled past the Meralco Bolts in Game 3 of their best-of-three quarterfinals series, 104-96, in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner's Cup on Friday night at the Big Dome.

Jayson Castro and import Joshua Smith paced the KaTropa with 31 points apiece.

It was a game of runs in the first half, with TNT getting the upper hand of the opening exchanges by taking a 29-19 cushion into the second frame.

The game tightened up again in the final period of regulation, and Meralco looked poised to take the victory with a 89-88 lead with 7.1 ticks left on the clock.

But it turned out to be a comedy of errors, as Chris Newsome botched an inbounds play to give possession back to TNT, who earned a foul that sent Castro to the free throw line.

Castro could only sink one of the two free throws, which sent the series into overtime.

The KaTropa took control in the extra period, holding Meralco to two field goals on the way to the victory.

Baser Amer led Meralco with 25 markers.

After the game, TNT head coach Nash Racela said that his team simply refused to stay down.

"You can't really give up early," Racela said. "I know we were down, we had a turnover before that last play of Meralco, but sabi namin hangga't hindi tapos palaging may chance."

The TNT KaTropa will meet Barangay Ginebra for Game 1 of their best-of-five semifinals series on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.