2021 PBA Philippine Cup Finals: TNT + Hotshots = FIREWORKS!

It’s finally that time of year again: The 2021 Philippine Cup Finals are upon us, and two of the three top seeded teams made it all the way to the big dance.

The one-seed TNT Tropang Giga punched their ticket to the finals by beating the four-seed San Miguel Beermen, who – despite the return of big man June Mar Fajardo – lost in seven games to the top-ranked club.

TNT closed out the elimination round with a record of 10-1 before beating eight-seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to advance to the semifinals.

There, of course, the Beermen gave TNT a much bigger challenge as the teams alternated wins and losses through the entire round.

In Game 7 on October 17, TNT won convincingly, 97-79. But that wasn’t the only wipeout. In fact, most of the games in the series weren’t even close, as you can see below (margins of victory in parentheses):

  • Game 1: TNT Tropang Giga 89, San Miguel Beermen 88 (1)
  • Game 2: San Miguel Beermen 98, TNT Tropang Giga 96 (2)
  • Game 3: TNT Tropang Giga 115, San Miguel Beermen 98 (17)
  • Game 4: San Miguel Beermen 116, TNT Tropang Giga 90 (26)
  • Game 5: TNT Tropang Giga 110, San Miguel Beermen 90 (20)
  • Game 6: San Miguel Beermen 103, TNT Tropang Giga 90 (13)
  • Game 7: TNT Tropang Giga 97, San Miguel Beermen 79 (18)

Meanwhile, the three-seed Magnolia Hotshots won their series against the two-seed Meralco Bolts in six games.

After going 8-3 in the elimination round and sweeping the six-seed Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their best-of-three quarterfinal, the Hotshots met the Bolts and put on a much closer show despite not going the series’ maximum seven games.

With just two moderate outliers, the games were tight from wire to wire:

  • Game 1: Magnolia Hotshots 88, Meralco Bolts 79 (9)
  • Game 2: Magnolia Hotshots 92, Meralco Bolts 78 (14)
  • Game 3: Meralco Bolts 91, Magnolia Hotshots 86 (5)
  • Game 4: Magnolia Hotshots 81, Meralco Bolts 69 (12)
  • Game 5: Meralco Bolts 102, Magnolia Hotshots 98 (4)
  • Game 6: Magnolia Hotshots 93, Meralco Bolts 85 (8)

Of course, these margins of victory are to be expected.

TNT was playing the four-seed, while the Hotshots and the Bolts were ranked third and second, respectively.

Still, that doesn’t really explain the massive swings experienced by TNT, winning big and then losing big to the Beermen throughout their series.

While TNT Tropang Giga is the favorite to win the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Filipino basketball betting fans would do well to take note that the Hotshots are playing much more consistently.

With scores of 88, 92, 86, 81, 98, and 93, the delta between their best and worst semifinals offensive performances is just 17 points.

On TNT’s end, their scores of 89, 96, 115, 90, 110, 90, and 97 have a delta between extremes of 26 points. On the other hand, their total scoring is significantly higher across the board than Magnolia’s.

Clearly, it’s a question of not only consistency, but of overall output on the offensive and defensive ends. Fittingly, TNT seems more explosive than the Hotshots, even if the Hotshots can light it up.

Here’s how the betting lines are currently trending for Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, although the odds will be slightly different depending on the top-rated Philippine online sportsbooks you choose:

PBA Philippine Cup Finals Odds – Game 1

TNT Tropang Giga vs. Magnolia Hotshots

  • Spread: TNT Tropang Giga -1.5
  • Straight: TNT Tropang Giga -130, Magnolia Hotshots +100
  • Total O/U:5

Game 1 tips off at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, October 20, with coverage available through the One Sports network.

International viewers can watch the game via the One Sports Facebook page, which will offer live streaming of all Finals games.

To get you ready for the Philippine Cup championship series, you can catch up with all of One Sports’ coverage of the 46th PBA season at the One Sports YouTube channel.

Here’s a collection of highlights from the last week of the 2021 Philippine Cup semis: