SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – TNT guns for its first PBA Philippine Cup semifinal appearance in three years as it plans to maximize the win-once incentive it has versus Alaska in their quarters matchup Saturday.
Game time is at 4:00 p.m., with the Tropang Giga looking to be the second team to enter the penultimate phase next to top seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, who took care of business Friday night as it dispatched Rain or Shine.
The MVP Group’s crown jewel is among the favorites to win it all but many are curious about how it will bounce back following the 74-80 defeat it absorbed from the Elasto Painters last Tuesday in their final eliminations assignment.
The Tropa didn’t play main man Jayson Castro in that match as the coaching staff reportedly decided to sit him out rather than risking aggravating a nagging calf injury, but he should be ready when they take on the Aces.
The Milkmen, on the other hand, are also concerned with star forward Vic Manuel, who felt tightness on his knee versus NLEX last Monday although Coach Jeff Cariaso hopes that he’ll be fine given the respite they’ve had.
Like its opponent, Alaska is also keen on ending its semis drought in the all-Filipino cagefest. The last time it reached the said stage was in 2016, where it also ended up as runner-up to San Miguel Beer.
TNT and Alaska were the ones who raised the curtains of the season restart in the bubble back on Oct. 11, and the Tropang Giga reigned victorious, 100-95, big thanks to the 45-point explosion of Roger Pogoy.
The Aces sure know the firepower their foes possess given the likes of Pogoy, Castro, Ray Parks, Troy Rosario, and Poy Erram but they are definitely not to be left out as they also have the pieces to make it tough for TNT.
Alaska has been getting solid contributions from Mike DiGregorio, Robbie Herndon, Abu Tratter, rookie Barkley Ebona, and Maverick Ahanmisi, who has finally regained his old form as shown by his play versus the Road Warriors.