No complex scenarios needed: Win or go home | Inquirer Sports
PBA COMMISSIONER’S CUP

No complex scenarios needed: Win or go home

/ 05:10 AM January 07, 2024

New TNT import Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson.

New TNT import Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

There’s no longer anything complex when it comes to the quarterfinal chase of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup, with just one more spot left to be decided heading into the final week of the eliminations.

It’s now a matter of simply winning.

TNT, a perennial contender but has been ravaged by injuries, and NLEX, which endured a slump at midway point, are in need of victories in their remaining games for the mere shot at extending their campaigns in the season-opening tournament.

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Both teams head into a sibling clash to catch the last quarterfinal bus after NorthPort and Rain or Shine gained entry to the next phase by winning their respective matches Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Holding control of its destiny is TNT with a 4-6 (win-loss) record despite losing its last three games. NLEX has a 3-6 card with three matches to play.

Rain or Shine won at the expense of TNT and extended its streak to five straight after a 0-5 start. The Elastopainters are assured of entering the last eight even if they end the elimination round tied at 5-6 with the Tropang Giga and Road Warriors by virtue of a superior point differential in the games against the two squads.

Scoring cudgels

TNT plays Phoenix, currently at second with a 7-2 mark, on Jan. 14 at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City with an aim at salvaging a top eight after dealing with the controversial absence of Mikey Williams and injuries sustained by imports Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, RR Pogoy, Poy Erram and Jayson Castro.

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Calvin Oftana has taken the scoring cudgels of the team, but the struggles continued for the Tropang Giga, whose defeat to the Elastopainters spoiled a 50-point debut of Hollis-Jefferson’s brother Rahlir.

Frustration levels soared for some members of the TNT camp, with Rondae getting into a heated exchange with coach Yeng Guiao near the Rain or Shine bench. Guiao questioned the former NBA standout’s presence behind his team huddle while Rondae claimed he was within the Rain or Shine vicinity, only to confront referees over a foul called on Rahlir against import Tree Treadwell late in the game.

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Deputy commissioner Eric Castro said potential sanctions will be determined once he meets with PBA chief Willie Marcial on Monday.

Meanwhile, NLEX is hoping that the timely addition of Robert Bolick, who was acquired from NorthPort in a three-team trade following a short stint in Japan, can spark a late run for at least a playoff with TNT for the No. 8 spot.

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The Road Warriors battle the lowly Converge FiberXers on Wednesday at the Big Dome, but face a daunting task on Jan. 13 when they take on Barangay Ginebra in Legazpi City, Albay.

TAGS: NLEX Road Warriors, PBA, TNT Tropang Giga

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