Tropang Giga, Painters in critical Commissioner’s Cup clash | Inquirer Sports

Tropang Giga, Painters in critical Commissioner’s Cup clash

/ 05:10 AM January 05, 2024

TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa.

TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa. –MARLO CUETO/

TNT, a perennial title contender and an early title favorite for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup, is already out of the race for the coveted playoff protection, with the Tropang Giga’s only chance of going deep after the eliminations needing to go the proverbial tougher route.

But that has hardly changed the way the Tropang Giga are looking at the remainder of their classification round schedule.


“Same approach, [but] with a little more back-to-the-wall attitude versus Rain or Shine,” coach Jojo Lastimosa told the Inquirer on Thursday afternoon after preparing his charges for their 8 p.m. clash with the Elastopainters at Smart Araneta Coliseum.


“We know what’s at stake and we will play with a little desperation just to avoid any complications,” he went on.

The Tropang Giga need a win to avoid sliding to the fringes of an early exit, and they will try to pull it out against a squad that saw a rejuvenation before the holidays with a four-game winning streak and one which is actually on the same boat as TNT.

Rain or Shine also has a 4-5 record and also needs to win this game badly. The victor here will have some sort of a cushion inside the top eight.

Another RHJ debuts

What’s critical for the Tropang Giga is making on-the-fly adjustments with new import Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, who is taking over the spot of his injured brother Rondae.

Lastimosa, for his part, knows the realities he will take on.“Rahlir is still getting used to playing with the team and also familiarizing himself with our system. We don’t know how he will be come game time,” he said.

“[But] we don’t want to put a lot of pressure on him because he’s not Rondae. They play different games.”


Meanwhile, NorthPort tackles also-ran Blackwater in the 4 p.m. duel looking to hit two birds with a single stone.

The 5-4 Batang Pier, currently at No. 6 in the standings, are hoping to get out of a two-game slump and firm up their chances of advancing to the next round. Coach Bonnie Tan’s crew also remains in the running for a spot in the top four, with a pair of elimination games left on their schedule.

The magic number to make it past this round has so far been pegged at six wins, and that was something that was denied the Batang Pier after varying losses to Meralco, 125-99, and Phoenix, 110-104.

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So far, only Blackwater and idle Converge have been booted out of the playoff race with identical 1-8 records, with the Bossing losing their last eight despite the arrival of Jeffrey Cariaso as their new coach.

TAGS: Jojo Lastimosa, PBA, TNT Tropang Giga

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