MNILA, Philippines – With the league’s COVID-19 protocols interfering with its attempt to be cohesive, TNT on Friday turned to its defense to defeat Rain or Shine, 79-69, and pick up where it left off in the PBA. Philippine Cup.
“We’re nowhere near the kind of fluidity we want with the break we were forced to take and then Mikey (Williams) with just three practices with us,” said coach Chot Reyes.
“We knew we were going to have trouble on offense, but we said to ourselves, let’s just find a way to make saves and win this game with our defense.”
In fact, TNT was far from being the powerful scoring machine it is known for during the contest. Main guns Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy accounted for just 13 points each, and Glenn Kobhuntin was the only other Giga Tropang to score in double digits.
However, the Tropang Giga was more assertive in defense.
TNT cornered Rain or Shine, the best defensive team that entered as today’s best game, to 16 turnovers, then converted those errors to 21 points.
Javee Mocon had 22 points, the only starter to score more than six. Mark Borboran added 12 more for the bench as the 3-2 Painters suffered their second straight setback after emerging as early tournament leaders.
“We just had to stay the course and focus on the things that are under our control, and the things that are under our control are how hard we practice when we return from our quarantine,” said Reyes, whose team last saw action in a victory over Terrafirma on July 17.
Williams, the fourth overall pick in the draft, was mediocre in his first game in a TNT uniform, finishing with just seven points to go with six rebounds, four steals and three assists.
If it’s any consolation, Reyes knows there’s a lot of basketball to play for Mikey and the Tropang Giga. At 2-0, growth should be the least of your worries.
“We all have to be patient. And like I said, keep building ”, he added.
TNT hopes to further strengthen its base when it plays at NorthPort this Sunday.
TNT 79 – Rosario 13, Pogoy 13, Khobuntin 10 ,, Castro 9, M. Williams 7, Heruela 6, Alejandro 6, K. Williams 6, Montalbo 5, Erram 4, Marcelo 0.
Rain or sun 69 – Mocon 22, Borboran 12, Johnson 7, Caracut 6, Norwood 6, Torres 5, Ponferada 5, Nambatac 4, Wong 2, Belga 0, Santillán 0.
Quarter Scores: 22-19, 43-33, 64-52, 79-69.
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