TNT’s performance was unaffected by the lengthy break
On Wednesday, at the PhilSports Arena, the Tropang Giga easily dispatched the NorthPort Batang Pier 134-110 to advance to the semi-finals of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The period in which TNT outscored NorthPort by 47-16 was led by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Roger Pogoy, and it completely changed the complexion of the game, surprising even coach Jojo Lastimosa. TNT had not played in the PBA since February 19.
The guys got it, Lastimosa said. “We finally broke even in the second quarter when our spending went back up and our shooting improved. From there, they were in such a rhythm that I didn’t even notice that we had scored 47 points by the end of the second quarter.”
In fact, TNT made 16 of 29 shots while holding NorthPort to an 11 of 29 clip in the deciding quarter, and then followed that up with a less explosive but just as lethal 43-26 exchange in the third to increase the margin to as much as 97-53, before heading into the fourth canto with a 109-69 advantage.
For good measure, the Tropa also eliminated NorthPort from the playoff picture and welcomed Phoenix Super LPG with a ninth victory in 10 games.
TNT’s focus shifts to Friday’s showdown with Barangay Ginebra, who have an 8-2 record, for the chance to play the No. 8 seed Phoenix in the quarterfinals and secure the No. 1 seed.
To Lastimosa, it doesn’t matter where his team stands going into the final eight. For him, “number one” or “two” were equally unimportant.
“It’s great to beat Ginebra, but this is still an elimination match. Also, beating Ginebra is no guarantee that we’ll advance far in the playoffs “the addition of Lastimosa. “To put it another way, I’m just saying that it’s one game. It’s only been a week, but Ginebra has already won.”
NorthPort’s hopes of overtaking Phoenix and earning the eighth and final playoff spot were eliminated after the team suffered its eighth defeat in 11 games.
Batang Pier followed coach Bonnie Tan’s orders and took an early lead, 27-15. But that only lasted through the first quarter before the Tropa’s strength became obvious.
Although he started the game 0-for-6 from the field, Hollis-Jefferson went on to score 31 points and grab 11 boards, including 17 and 5 in the decisive second period. Pogoy backed up their import with 22 points and Calvin Oftana chipped in with 16 during that time period for a total of 21 points.
NorthPort was led by Kevin Murphy’s 35 points and 10 rebounds, while Arvin Tolentino added 19 points.
Robert Bolick scored 14 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out six assists in his final game before taking his talents overseas. (NC)
Hollis-Jefferson (31), Pogoy (22), Oftana (16), K. Williams (12), M. Williams (9), Chua (8), Khobuntin (7), Tungcab (7), Montalbo (6), Ganuelas-Rosser (6), Varilla (5), Castro (2), Cruz (2), Marcelo (1), and Acuno (0) for a total of 134 for TNT.
Murphy scored 35 points, Tolentino 19, Zamar 15, Bolick 14, Munzon 10, Caperal 5, Sumang 3, Chan 3, Taha 2, Calma 2, Ayaay 2, Salado 0, Vigil 0, Balagasay 0, for NorthPort’s 110 total.
Quarters: 19-27, 66-43, 109-69, 134-110
The game between NorthPort and TNT was a one-sided affair, with TNT dominating and securing a spot in the semi-finals of the PBA Governors Cup. The team’s lengthy break did not seem to affect their performance as they outscored NorthPort by a huge margin of 47-16 in the second quarter, led by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Roger Pogoy. NorthPort’s hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals were dashed after their eighth defeat in eleven games.
TNT’s focus now shifts to their showdown with Barangay Ginebra for the chance to secure the No. 1 seed in PBA Governors Cup Betting. However, coach Jojo Lastimosa is not too concerned about the team’s seeding going into the final eight and is more focused on the elimination matches ahead.
Overall, TNT’s dominant win showcased their strength and depth, and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. As for NorthPort, they will need to regroup and come back stronger in the next season.