Pogoy hopes to finally end quest for first PBA title, braces for ‘tough’ Magnolia
MANILA, Philippines—TNT guard Roger Pogoy exorcised a demon of his past on Sunday night, helping TNT overcome San Miguel Beer in a playoff series for the first time since 2013.
“In my five years here in the PBA, we’ve always suffered losses in the playoffs at the hands of San Miguel. They’re a truly tough bunch,” he said in Filipino on Sunday night, shortly after starring in the Tropang Giga’s 97-79 triumph in Game 7 of the Philippine Cup semifinals.
Pogoy will have another shot at putting away another one when his team battles Magnolia for the prestigious all-Filipino crown. There, the TNT gunner, a certified winner during his amateur days, will have another chance at finally capturing a pro title, after going empty-handed thrice.
In an interview almost exactly a year ago today, Pogoy told the Inquirer that winning a PBA title has become a personal crusade.
“I’ve been able to get a taste of championships in other leagues I’ve played—in high school, college and the semiprofessional circuit. It’s just a pro title that I haven’t been able to win.”
Those botched tries and the rich experiences he picked up along the way has surely prepared Pogoy for this new chance. But he is also the first to say that it’s only going to be harder from here on out.
“I think if the San Miguel series was already taxing, then the finals will be even more difficult. [The Hotshots] have been on quite the run. And there’s good reason why they’re also in the finals. So I know they’re going to be tough to play,” he said.
Magnolia reached the finals after taking down blue-collar Rain or Shine in the quarterfinals and then tough-as-nails Meralco in the Final Four. The Hotshots, now armed with a support team that’s just as good as any other starting unit in the league, are also on a mission to end a title drought of their own. So, saying that they are going to be a formidable opponent is a fairly accurate claim.
But Pogoy–already hardened by the finals heartbreaks of the 2016 and 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, and of course, last year’s All-Filipino bubble–is looking forward to the challenge.
“As coach (Chot Reyes) would say, all we’re asking is to get a chance. And when that chance crops up, we just have to grab it,” he said.
“This will make up for a good journey,” he added. “I’ve had several inal appearances, and I haven’t won a single one. Maybe, in God’s graces, (this would be it). We’re going to work hard.”