PBA Finals: Jojo Lastimosa lauds TNT resolve in bounce-back win over Ginebra
MANILA, Philippines-Coach Jojo Lastimosa praised the resolve TNT displayed in tying the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals series against Barangay Ginebra at one game apiece after Wednesday’s 95-82 victory at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Giga went on a hot start then refused to buckle despite the Gin Kings’ repeated rallies in the second half behind import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Mikey Williams, RR Pogoy and Calvin Oftana to put the best-of-seven series back to square one.
“The team refused to lose tonight,” said Lastimosa during the postgame press conference where he was joined at the podium by Hollis-Jefferson.
TNT turned the tables on Ginebra, which took Game 1 with a 102-90 result anchored by Justin Brownlee’s 17 first quarter points.
But in a stunning reversal, the Tropang Giga held Brownlee to only 12 points throughout on a 3-of-12 shooting, something that is a rarity for Ginebra’s long-time reinforcement.
It was one of the reasons why TNT succeeded in setting the tempo instead of being the one making the counter.
“They know that this is a must-win for us and the guys decided that they’re not gonna take this lightly,” said Lastimosa. “We need to make the first punches and not really reacting to what they’re doing.”
Williams slightly improved his shooting numbers and resulted in 21 points with five triples while Pogoy bounced back from being held to only six points by posting 17 alongside seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Calvin Oftana posted 14 points and 13 rebounds, showing why Ginebra coach Tim Cone expressed concerns that the versatile forward would pose matchup problems for his team.
“It’s not just that Roger (Pogoy) got hot or I played great defense, it’s a collective effort—from the coaches and players,” Hollis-Jefferson said.