PBA: TNT looking forward to facing San Miguel in battle of top seeds


TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa. –PBA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Eight games into the PBA Governors’ Cup, TNT has held its own as a legitimate contender in this conference.

That will be put to the test when they face fellow high-ranked team and All-Filipino Cup rival San Miguel.

After Tropang Giga’s 111-104 win against Meralco, coach Jojo Lastimosa acknowledged their game against the Beermen, who one-upped them in the season-starting All-Filipino conference’s Finals series last year, poses a big challenge.

“I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a big challenge, knowing San Miguel is playing really well so we just have to be ready. I think the guys are all ready,” said Lastimosa at Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

Both TNT and San Miguel have the same 7-1 record following the Beermen’s 102-99 victory over Ginebra in the nightcap.

The Beermen may have been scouting TNT all conference long, but the arrival of new import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson gave Tropang Giga’s lineup and rotation almost a complete shake-up.

“He (RHJ) is a better fit because he improves everything for us, including our ball movement and he’s also a big threat in the post. Before, it used to be our guards who are the ones that are threats in the post but now we have a big threat there. Rondae makes it [the game] better for us overall, on offense and defense.”

Hollis-Jefferson finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. The former KBL cager is posting norms of 37 markers, 13 boards and seven dimes per outing.

Hollis-Jefferson will be caught in a much-anticipated showdown with SMB import Cam Clark, who is averaging 27.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists a night.

One problem that may haunt Lastimosa’s ball club, however, is the uncertainty of star guard Roger Pogoy who sat out the majority of the game due to a mishap in the first quarter where he accidentally stepped on Chris Banchero’s foot at the 49.2 mark of the first quarter.

His presence in TNT’s next game is uncertain but Lastimosa sees it may not be “too severe.”

“I don’t know, I’m not a trainer but from what I saw, it was bad enough that he can’t go on but not that bad that he was able to come back so I’m hoping it’s not severe,” said Lastimosa.

The All-Filipino Cup Finals rematch will take place on Sunday at PhilSports Arena.

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