Daily Tribune (Philippines)

TNT faces Terrafirma

- BY IAN SUYU @tribunephl_ian

Games today (Smart Araneta Coliseum): 3 p.m. — TNT vs Terrafirma 6 p.m. — Magnolia vs Blackwater

TNT Tropang Giga continues its hunt for a quarterfin­al bonus when it faces also-ran Terrafirma in the final eliminatio­n week of the Philippine Basketball Associatio­n (PBA) Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today.

Tipoff is at 3 p.m. as the Tropang Giga trek the most crucial stretch of their preliminar­y campaign, while league-leader Magnolia aims to end its round with a loud bang against winless Blackwater at 6 p.m.

With teams now jockeying for quarterfin­als seeding, only the Hotshots and NLEX have so far secured twice-to-beat advantage with their respective 9-1 and 8-3 records.

San Miguel Beer, which won seven of its 11 games, is in good position to grab one of the two playoff incentives left, while Meralco is trailing with a 6-4 card.

Barangay Ginebra and Alaska are already locked for the next round after registerin­g identical 6-5 records, while NorthPort and Phoenix, both in 5-5, are in dire need to win their final games to still make a playoff chance.

But all eyes will be on the Tropang Giga.

I told the team that the game I fear the most is when everyone expects us to win.

Carrying a 5-4 card, the crew of Mikey Williams, Troy Rosario, Roger Pogoy and Poy Erram still have the inside track for the bonus and could even complicate the team standings should they sweep their remaining games against the Dyip and NorthPort on Friday.

However, they could also fall to eighth place if they drop both games.

TNT head coach Chot Reyes said they need to come up with a stronger performanc­e under pressure.

After all, he and his wards like Rosario, Pogoy, Erram, Kib Montalbo and Kelly Williams gained extra toughness after suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers less than two weeks ago.

They were part of the hybrid Gilas squad that split two games against India and powerhouse New Zealand in the country’s hosting at the Big Dome.

“Not gonna lie, it’s difficult. The last week has been rough,” Reyes said, hoping that his players will enter the court with a rejuvenate­d sense of confidence.

“I told the team that the game I fear the most is when everyone expects us to win and the odds are stacked in our favor.”

Terrafirma, however, is determined to end its season in an impressive manner.

After absorbing four consecutiv­e losses that put them out of contention, the Dyip are tipped to play spoilers’ role and stage an upset against the Tropang Giga. The Dyip are expected to go all out on their next battle with main gunners Joshua Munzon, Juami Tiongson and Antonio Hester.

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