Momentum on TNT side


A ROUT in Game One two nights ago gave TNT Tropang Giga the momentum in the best-of-seven Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup Finals.

But Chot Reyes disagreed that their 88-70 victory will catapult them to the title that he last won when he last coached the TNT franchise nine years ago.

“Our only concern now is how to get better each game, we wanted to be better in the Finals than we were in the semifinals,” Reyes said. “If we just put in the same game as what we did in the semifinals, then we’ll be in trouble.”

Reyes steered the franchise to the Philippine Cup title in 2012 but was pulled out from the bench to tend to a higher mission of bringing the Philippines back to the basketball World Cup. He did in Spain 2014.

But everything else, including the Game One mastery of the Hotshots, are thrown out the window in Game Two also set at 6 p.m. at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

“Same thing in Game Two…how can we be better than Game One,” he said.

Rookie Mikey Williams continued to be a puzzle for every opponent he faces. He had 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists against the Hotshots in Game One.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster after an up and down performance in the semifinals with San Miguel Beer, but basketball is a [team], I just have to help my team win,” Williams said.

“Coach [Reyes] gave me the freedom to play my game. So to build and work, we have to continue. We are going to get better, play more solid as a team,” he added.

Magnolia Coach Chito Victolero, meanwhile, said that they cannot allow another bad start in Game Two.

“Bad start, bad game. We will try to fix that today,” Victolero said. “Today is another day for us, we will forget the game yesterday [Wednesday] and we will move forward together.”

“We will go back to Magnolia basketball tomorrow,” he added.

The intensity of the Finals has tolled on both sides this early.

TNT’s other Williams, former MVP Kelly Williams, is a doubtful starter for Game Two after experiencing back spasms in the third quarter and had to be taken to a nearby hospital.

“Kelly [Williams] was released from the hospital but he still needs to see a specialist. He’s doubtful tomorrow,” TNT team manager Gabby Cui said.

Ian Sangalang, Magnolia’s most consistent threat the entire conference, also felt pain in his back.

“We will try to see tomorrow if his back is okay,” Victolero said of Sangalang, who’s been averaging 16.6 points and 10.7 rebounds for the Hotshots.

Paul Lee also played with a bad shoulder and was limited to 12 points and Calvin Abueva had 11 points and 11 rebounds in Game One.

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