PBA: Kim Aurin shines as surprise starter in TNT win

PBA: Kim Aurin shines as surprise starter in TNT win

/ 09:32 PM January 14, 2024

Kim Aurin TNT PBA

TNT guard Kim Aurin goes for a layup against two Phoenix defenders in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Surprised to get the starting nod, rookie Kim Aurin did not disappoint by helping TNT win its biggest game of the young PBA season.

With the last playoff spot at stake, Aurin gave the Tropang Giga a big boost to beat the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

“I was shocked that I was in the first five so I immediately put it in my mind that I need to contribute to the team. Coach Jolas (Jojo Lastimosa) trusted me and I needed to repay that,” said Aurin, a third round pick by Barangay Ginebra in last year’s draft.

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While many did not expect to see Aurin as a starter, TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa felt he needed to give the former Perpetual Help standout a starring role to fuel the Tropang Giga’s offensive firepower in the backcourt.

“We talked about him starting because we’re looking for a scorer. We realized that, in the guard spot, we needed a scorer and with Kim, that’s one of his strongest skills. We know that he can score,” said Lastimosa.

Kim Aurin TNT PBA

Kim Aurin.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Aurin made Lastimosa look like a genius, displaying what he’s capable of on the offensive end with 18 points on 3-of-5 shooting from long distance in a 116-96 rout of Phoenix. He also had three rebounds and a steal in 21 minutes.

But as good as Aurin was offensively, Lastimosa said the young guard still has a lot of work to do on the defensive end.

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“His only problem is his defense. Sometimes, he gets lost. He’s still trying to get into the system of how we do things defensively. There was a point in the game that I yanked him out because he made a mistake but the good thing is, he was able to respond. He became a little bit more aggressive on the defense.”

After a solid performance, Aurin may have just earned himself more playing time for the Tropang Giga just in time for the quarterfinals.

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“I saw Kim in 3×3 and I saw some potential there. He has a lot to prove, a lot of people refused to take on him. He wanted to play five-on-five and now we’re looking at a guy who’s going to play a little bit more. He deserves what he’s getting right now.”

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TAGS: Jojo Lastimosa, Kim Aurin, PBA Commissioner's Cup, TNT Tropang Giga

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