TNT’s fine work on both ends spurs Jojo Lastimosa’s confidence
Coach Jojo Lastimosa has a big reason why he likes TNT’s chances of beating Barangay Ginebra in their PBA Governors’ Cup title showdown, which won’t start until the end of the Holy Week.
While he feels that the Tropang Giga “have nothing to lose” owing to the status of the Gin Kings as the favorites in the best-of-seven series, Lastimosa expressed confidence in the team’s current form, especially after dispatching sister team Meralco Bolts in the semifinals.
“I like my chances,” he said. “Our players are playing well. We’ve been winning games during our streakwith scoring and right now, we’re defending really well.”
The Tropang Giga have carved out 10 straight wins from the third game of the eliminations until Game 1 of the semifinals and much of the credit has been put on import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
The former Brooklyn Nets starter’s all-around play since replacing Jalen Hudson despite the latter’s strong showing catapulted TNT to the top spot in the playoffs and gave the team an opportunity to deny Ginebra a third straight Governors’ Cup title.
But Calvin Oftana and Mikey Williams were also among those who excelled in the semifinals, while RR Pogoy has been at times the best local scoring option for the Tropang Giga.
Undisputed leader Jayson Castro has been contributing as well while TNT has slowly put Poy Erram back in the groove after a long absence due to an injury.
TNT goes into the Finals, with Game 1 set on April 9, Easter Sunday, as the top scoring team of the conference with 115.2 points but also fared well defensively, holding Meralco to 94.8 points in the series.
But Ginebra, which averages over 111 points, will pose a great challenge for the TNT defense.
The Tropang Giga won their only encounter with the Gin Kings in the elimination round, coming back in the second half for a 114-105 stunner last March 17 to snatch the No. 1 position in the quarterfinals.
Ginebra fell to the third seed, but was able to breeze through to the Finals led by Justin Brownlee and Christian Standhardinger.
Lastimosa said the result of their previous meeting meant “nothing, other than that was the one win that brought us the No. 1 seed.”
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.