Back-to-back defeats make Tropang Giga sharp again
SMART CLARK GIGA CITY—The back-to-back losses to surging Magnolia and heavyweight Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Philippine Cup last week was a reality check that TNT needed, coach Bong Ravena admitted, as the Tropang Giga now know that they are not invincible. Not even close to even being one.
“We were a bit stunned,” he told reporters here. “We, especially the players, were surprised that it could happen to us.”
Reflecting, according to Ravena, helped his charges get back on track as they scored a 92-79 dumping of Meralco to stay well in the fight for a top four berth with a 7-3 record.
“The losses got everyone thinking,” he said in Filipino shortly after the victory over the Bolts at Angeles University Foundation powered by Smart 5G. “We played terribly, especially in the last game (against Ginebra). We kept on firing threes yet we still couldn’t get anything to fall.”
After that loss, Jayson Castro, the club’s fleet-footed star, sat on the curbside of the hotel’s entrance still in his uniform, talking to someone over the phone.
Ravena later revealed his lead playmaker talked to several people, including Ranidel de Ocampo, Castro’s close pal and former TNT stalwart, and now one of the team’s assistant coaches, obviously seeking advice on how to right the ship.
Castro then bounced back the next outing, shooting 24 points. Roger Pogoy and Ray Parks were the two other bright performers with 27 and 17, respectively. Parks also had 11 rebounds. “Coach Mark (Dickel) told us all that we can’t do anything about [the past], that this is our reality now,” Ravena explained.
Ravena said all of his charges agreed that the only way to bounce back was, of course, winning again.
“The only way to get back is to win the next game, and the next one [after that],” he said. “The mentality is to make up for the two sorry losses.”
With the pain of those successive losses now eased somewhat, TNT knows that the thing it needs to do it win its last game in the classification—which will be against Rain or Shine on Tuesday—to keep their hopes of a twice-to-beat privilege alive.
“We can’t afford slowing down now. We can’t waste the momentum,” Ravena said.
And though not everyone in his team is superstitious, Ravena also pointed to his squad’s new black uniform, which they unveiled in that win, and will now become a staple for the team for this conference at least.
“We felt we could draw some luck and excellence from the All Blacks and Kobe’s ‘Mamba Mentality,’” Ravena said. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.