PBA: TNT Tropang Giga kick off hectic month for their franchise
Magnolia and Meralco wager their spotless records when the Philippine Basketball Associations’ (PBA) season-ending Governors’ Cup gets back on track this Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, with the Hotshots battling a TNT side doing some side hustle in the tournament.
The Tropang Giga battle the Hotshots with an eye toward preparing for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup Asian qualifying window that will be held here in less than two weeks. TNT’s core will serve as ballast for the national team that will compete in the window and TNT coach Chot Reyes wants his wards to understand that the double duty they are pulling off is of equal importance.
“It shouldn’t be the case of either-or. It should be a case of integration,” said Reyes, who will call the shots for both TNT and Gilas Pilipinas.
“I talked with the TNT players thoroughly and told them this is a part of your job as a Filipino professional basketball player. It is your moral obligation to serve your country. I told them to look at [things] as a whole,” he added.
“Hopefully, by helping Gilas, it’s going to help our game and it’s going to help us in the PBA. But there’s always a big risk that it will, indeed, get in the way. But that’s a risk we’re willing to take.”
TNT and Magnolia figure in their first rematch since the two squared off in the championship series of the last Philippine Cup, capping off a doubleheader that kicks off with a 3 p.m. duel between sister teams Meralco and NLEX, which has won four of its five games before the stoppage.
In related league news, Terrafirma coach Johnedel Cardel can now heave a sigh of relief after Isaac Go, the club’s pick during the 2019 Special Rookie Draft, has decided to join the Dyip.
“In a way, this eases the sting of our manpower problems,” he told the Inquirer over the phone on Thursday.
“With Isaac and Joshua (Munzon) back in the fold, I think we can move forward,” he added.
Go, according to earlier media reports, wanted to test his luck overseas, but Cardel explained that the holdout was due to clashing preferences in contract length.
“My bosses told me that Isaac has agreed to be on board for two years. He initially wanted just one year,” said Cardel.
With Go around, Terrafirma not only blunts the absence of veteran playmaker Alex Cabagnot (foot injury) and the loss of vocal leader Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and 2019 regular draft top pick Roosevelt Adams to free agency, but it also reels in a high-IQ player and a legitimate stretch big.
Go, a former Ateneo standout who served the national team on several occasions, now joins his fellow Gilas draftees Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, twins Mike and Matt Nieto who were all signed by their mother clubs this week.
Terrafirma is scheduled to plunge back into PBA action this Saturday, taking on a desperate Blackwater side looking to snap its five-game dry spell in this conference and its horrendous league record for the longest losing streak that has spanned 24 matches.