By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE TNT KaTropa took a 1-0 lead over the San Miguel Beermen in their best-of-seven Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup finals series after a 109-96 victory in Game One on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Found themselves clicking from all cylinders in the opening half, the Texters used it to build much distance which the Beermen could not make up for the rest of the way, handing the win to TNT.

Import Terrence Jones led the charge for the KaTropa with 41 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks with Jayson Castro finishing with 20 points.

Troy Rosario added 16 markers while Roger Pogoy and Don Trollano had 13 and 11 points, respectively.

For the Beermen it was import Chris McCullough who showed the way with 33 points and 15 boards.

June Mar Fajardo had 23 points with Terrence Romeo and Christian Standhardinger adding 11 and 10 points each.

The contest was tied at 17-all with 4:40 to go in the opening quarter before TNT went on an 18-2 run for the remainder of the period to build a 35-19 lead after the first 12 minutes.

TNT continued with its hot shooting in the second frame as Messrs. Jones and Castro kept humming, helping their team to a 60-42 advantage by the halftime break.

In the third period, the Beermen tried to make its move behind Mr. Ross but the closest they could get was only 13 points, 85-72, with less than a minute to go as the KaTropa stood their ground.

TNT opened the final canto with a 10-2 run in the first two minutes to stretch its lead to 21 points anew, 95-74.

It proved to be telling for the KaTropa as it set the tone for the team en route to the series-opening win.

“I give credit to our defense. We had a great game plan and it worked. The team did great but it’s only one step in the journey and we have to win three more,” said Mr. Jones, named player of the game, after their victory.

Game Two of the finals is on Wednesday, Aug. 7.