Duel with Jets a PBA gauge for Tropang Giga | Inquirer Sports

Duel with Jets a PBA gauge for Tropang Giga

/ 04:30 AM November 01, 2023

Jojo Lastimosa: No expectations. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Jojo Lastimosa: No expectations. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

How TNT performs in its first home game in the East Asia Super League (EASL) on Wednesday against the Chiba Jets will likely serve as a gauge for the Tropang Giga’s coming campaign in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season starting this weekend.

Before facing the Magnolia Hotshots in the Commissioner’s Cup’s kickoff on Sunday, the Tropang Giga will face the Japan B.League side once again, this time at City of Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna at 7 p.m. where they’ll try to avenge their lopsided loss two weeks ago on the road.


Coach Jojo Lastimosa is hoping that TNT will be a much-fitter team compared to that 93-75 defeat and end Chiba’s 2-0 start in Group A of the home-and-away league.


“One good thing about our camp is we were able to accomplish things quickly,” Lastimosa said, referring to the camp TNT had at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba.

The game serves as both a chance to get back at the Jets and as perhaps a message to the Hotshots that the Tropang Giga will come in still among the favorites to win the first offering of the PBA’s 48th season even without key players.

Mikey Williams, RR Pogoy and Poy Erram are out once more for TNT, potentially giving up a huge chunk of the production from the local core that secured last season’s Governors’ Cup title.But TNT is expected to have Calvin Oftana in uniform for the first time since he won the gold with Gilas Pilipinas in the Hangzhou Asian Games (Asiad).

New top local

Oftana will once again be teaming up with import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who was on the losing end of the Asiad final while playing for Jordan as a naturalized player.

Hollis-Jefferson had 15 points against Chiba the first time out, but his shooting woes compounded TNT’s defeat despite keeping the game close in the first half. The Tropang Giga even led by seven at one point.

Quincy Miller, TNT’s other import exclusively for the EASL, will be relied upon to produce in the team’s upset bid.


With Oftana expected to see some action, Jayson Castro and Glenn Khobuntin will have some help after carrying most of the load for the Tropang Giga in Japan.

“We played really well in the first half. We stayed with them, both on offense and defense. But in the second half, we lost our stamina,” said Lastimosa.

One big concern for TNT will be the play of Chiba’s Yuki Togashi, who in the Japanese side’s last game fired 30 points, including the go-ahead three that beat Taiwan’s Taipei Fubon Braves.

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Imports Justyn Mutts and DJ Stephens will be major defensive concerns for TNT, together with former San Miguel Beer reinforcement Ira Brown, who is listed as a local being a naturalized player. INQ

TAGS: PBA, Sports

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