After EASL loss, Jolas focuses on getting TNT in PBA shape | Inquirer Sports

After EASL loss, Jolas focuses on getting TNT in PBA shape

/ 05:10 AM October 13, 2023

TNT Tropang Giga import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

TNT Tropang Giga import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. -EASL PHOTO

Coach Jojo Lastimosa believes getting results both on home soil and foreign shores won’t be a problem once TNT reaches the form it envisions.

“We will be better off finishing games when we get in shape,” Lastimosa said in a short message to the Inquirer Thursday, a day after the Tropang Giga was handed a 93-75 loss by Japan’s B.League side, Chiba Jets, to open the East Asia Super League (EASL) season.

Despite missing key players in Japan for various reasons and still weeks before the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) campaign tips off, TNT was able to make good on Lastimosa’s promise to put up a fight, at least for the first 20 minutes, against a Chiba side already with a few B.League games under its belt.


Even with imports Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Quincy Miller around, Glenn Khobuntin picking up where he left off in the PBA On Tour and Jayson Castro trying to carry some load as well, the lack of depth and form eventually caught up with TNT and Chiba took command to post a convincing win.

“We just ran out of gas,” Lastimosa said.

Another crack at Chiba

TNT will resume its PBA preparation upon returning home, including arranging some tune-up games before the Nov. 5 opener.

But the Tropang Giga will still have one EASL game before the start of the 48th season when they take their turn hosting the Jets on Nov. 1 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, barring any last-minute changes.


TNT led by seven points behind Miller, Khobuntin and Hollis-Jefferson, who was five days removed from falling short of leading Jordan to the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games where they lost to Gilas Pilipinas in the final.

“It’s TNT’s first game of the season, but they play hard,” said Chiba coach John Patrick, as quoted by the EASL’s press release.


The 37-30 lead the Tropang Giga built, however, disappeared as the Jets came back behind import DJ Stephens and naturalized player Ira Brown, who once reinforced San Miguel Beer in the PBA.

Chiba also knocked down 16 triples while Hollis-Jefferson obviously was still dealing with the Asiad fatigue and missed 22 of 28 attempts despite finishing with 15 points.

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TNT missed practically its starting five, namely Mikey Williams, RR Pogoy and Poy Erram.

TAGS: East Asia Super League (EASL), Jojo Lastimosa, PBA, TNT Tropang Giga

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