Undersized TNT wary of EASL foe’s ‘three big imports’
UTSUNOMIYA, JAPAN — Coach Jojo Lastimosa is tempering his expectations ahead of TNT’s bid in the East Asia Super League (EASL) Champions Week here.
The Tropang Giga will be taking on home team Utsunomiya Brex in the nightcap of the tournament’s opener an undersized and undermanned lot.
“We are going up against three big imports. I’m hoping our bigs can neutralize them,” coach Jojo Lastimosa told the Inquirer.
The Brex, defending champions of the B.League, will field 6-foot-8 Tall Black Isaac Fotu, burly big man Julian Mavunga, and 6-foot-10 Josh Scott.
Aside from the enemy’s fearsome frontline, Lastimosa is also wary of the home crowd in the match set 7:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. in Manila) and will be televised on One Sports.
“Basketball is basketball wherever you play, but I would expect calls to be different here,” he pointed out.
That said, the interim coach assured that TNT—even without Mikey Williams and Poy Erram—is going to put up a gallant stand in its bid to carve a place among the region’s best while pocketing a lavish purse of $250,000 (about P14 million).
Leading the charge for the Tropang Giga are mainstays Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, and Gilas pool member Calvin Oftana. Backstopping the club are imports Daniel Ochefu and the efficient PBA import Jalen Hudson.
“I’m expecting as always the best from our opponents. We just hope to match their energy and intensity,” Lastimosa said.