Home Sports TNT snaps slide, but Chot Reyes wants to ‘fix ourselves first’

TNT snaps slide, but Chot Reyes wants to ‘fix ourselves first’


Before worrying on what lies ahead, coach Chot Reyes would rather have TNT self-reflect on what it needs to address amid a shaky campaign in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.

“We have to fix ourselves first,” said Reyes after the Tropang Giga’s 92-90 survival act on Sunday over the Meralco Bolts at Ninoy Aquino Stadium snapped a two-game slide.

TNT improved to an even 3-3 slate following the narrow result where Calvin Oftana scored 26 points, including a corner three-pointer entering the final two minutes of the matchup between sibling teams under the ownership of Manny V. Pangilinan.

Meanwhile, Terrafirma stunned Barangay Ginebra, 91-85, in a stunning result to the nightcap that put the team usually floundering at this stage of the eliminations closer toward a rare place in the quarterfinals.

Led by Juami Tiongson and Javi Gomez de Liano, the Dyip climbed to solo fourth with a 4-3 record and defeated the talent-laden Gin Kings for just the second time in franchise history. Their other win came in the 2021 Philippine Cup.

Ginebra fell to 3-3 after a second straight loss that started with Friday’s setback to unbeaten San Miguel Beer. And next for the Tropang Giga are the NLEX Road Warriors, currently the hottest team within Pangilinan’s wing with a 5-1 record.

The Road Warriors’ hot streak features a surprising rout of the Magnolia Hotshots, 87-74, at the same venue.The Tropang Giga also have Barangay Ginebra (April 19) and the Hotshots (May 5) sandwiched by bouts against struggling sides Phoenix (April 24) and Converge (May 1).

Lopsided losses

“Taking a look at the five games, I will beg off answering first because we have a lot of things to work on,” Reyes said. “Yes, this was a good win, but I don’t think one win [fixes] things. All of TNT’s wins have come in close margins, with the first two being a combined four points, against Rain or Shine, 108-107, last Feb. 28, and Terrafirma, 100-97, last March 9.

Two of their three defeats were by double-digit margins, the last being a brutal 112-96 shellacking handed by the NorthPort Batang Pier two days earlier at Smart Araneta Coliseum.A 27-point halftime deficit in the NorthPort game prompted the Tropang Giga to search itself leading up to the Bolts contest.

TNT coach Chot Reyes

TNT coach Chot Reyes in the PBA Philippine Cup. –PBA IMAGES

TNT was also handed a rough loss by Blackwater earlier in the campaign, 87-76, last March 2.

“I don’t think we’re the mighty TNT,” Reyes lamented. “I think the sooner we accept that, the better for us. We cannot win games on talent or just showing up. We have to outwork and outhustle every team we play.

“Our record is the way it is because clearly Blackwater and NorthPort just outworked us. We gave ourselves a chance against San Miguel Beer (in a 91-89 loss last March 17) because of our effort. We lost to a much-better team.”

Meralco fell to 3-4 after making it close despite a 13-point deficit, and the Bolts almost tied it when Aaron Black went for a transition layup in the dying seconds.

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But RR Pogoy blocked Black’s attempt, before the Bolts’ Jolo Mendoza missed a game-winning try at the buzzer. INQ

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