PBA: Hollis-Jefferson’s arrival brings better ball movement to TNT
MANILA, Philippines—TNT replaced its import Jalen Hudson for former NBA veteran Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in the PBA Governors’ Cup conference and changes were immediately seen.
Compared to having Hudson scoring via an isolation play, Tropang Giga now have more ball movement with the arrival of Hollis-Jefferson.
Roger Pogoy, who came out with Player of the Game honors, credited the former Korean Basketball League cager for his waxing hot 40 points.
“He really looks for us and he really passes. I even saw how many assists he tried to give to me and my other teammates. That’s probably one of the reasons why we won,” told Pogoy in Filipino after burying Blackwater, 138-116, at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
Like the Far Eastern University product, Hollis-Jefferson also had a monster game of his own, flirting with a triple-double of 37 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
Coach Jojo Lastimosa said he liked what he saw from the foreign acquisition, especially with his impact on the team’s passing.
“You can see Roger has more open shots since quite a long time. Rondae, that’s really one of his skills. He knows how to pass. That means he really knows how to look for players and all we need to do is knock them [shots] down,” the top coach said.
“I think we kind of expected this a little bit. Because with the way he plays, he attacks a lot of defense and he’s a really good passer and I think we also improved our coverage in the interior,” he added.
Overall, TNT tallied 28 assists, four more compared to the Bossings’ 28.
Pogoy and Hollis-Jefferson was instrumental for TNT to hold down the top seed with six wins and only one loss.
‘LIKE A PRO’
Lastimosa said Hudson took the news of his departure from the team pretty hard.
“It was hard to part ways with him. He took it hard but he took it like a pro,” Lastimosa said of their former import.
Hudson powered the Tropang Giga to the top spot prior to his leave with an average of 33.4 markers per outing.
Lastimosa, however, also confirmed that Hudson was given offers to play basketball elsewhere.
The arrival of Hollis-Jefferson, though, came fast. The KBL and the SBP cleared his papers just hours before tip-off, urging Lastimosa to prepare his boys to play “All-Filipino” against the Bossings.
But despite almost an impromptu game day, Lastimosa said he will take the win for what it is with how his powerhouse team played.
“I was happy with what I saw tonight.”