TNT head coach Chot Reyes agreed that he has a ‘very interesting’ backcourt at his disposal as the guards played a major factor in their dominant conquest of Blackwater in the 2021 Honda-PBA Philippine Cup resumption, Wednesday.
“They’re very interesting.
“Minsan ‘di mo malaman — magaling, minsan ‘di magaling,” quipped the veteran mentor moments after their 96-76 victory at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Fourth overall pick Mikey Williams led the way for the Tropang Giga with 16 points, alongside three rebounds, two assists, and two steals as he submitted the best performance thus far of his budding PBA career.
“Everybody knew naman what Mikey could do coming in,” offered Reyes. “I think it’s just a matter of him getting acclimatized to the style of play here and understanding how difficult it is to play in this league.
“And secondly, just understanding how to play with his teammates,” he added.
“Hindi ko naman tinitingnan whether we’re seeing his true potential or not. For me, we’re just taking a look at how we can continuously improve as a team.”
Indeed, it wasn’t just all Williams in the victory. Top guards like Roger Pogoy and veteran Jayson Castro — himself a proud son of Bacolor — also made their presence felt by finishing with 13 and 11 markers, respectively.
But aside from those main options, guys like Kib Montalbo, Brian Heruela, and JJay Alejandro contributed greatly as well.
Montalbo produced nine points, Heruela chimed in eight, and Alejandro added seven as the trio made four of the Texters’ 11 three-pointers.
Heruela was part of the crew that unloaded a 23-5 blast in the third quarter, capping off the said run with a triple to put his side up 60-48 with less than five minutes remaining in the said chapter.
Alejandro and Montalbo, meanwhile, helped sustain what their teammates built. The former even gave the Tropa its biggest lead of the ball game through a lay-up at 26 points, 94-68, with only 3:10 left to play.
Reyes said that he and the team are simply maximizing what they have plenty of to compete, which is undeniably paying dividends as they improve to 4-0.
“The good thing is we have depth,” he said. “Kapag tiningnan mo ang lineup namin hindi naman talaga kami malalakas sa malaki, sa post.
“We really don’t have a dominant offensive post threat.
“So we just have to find ways how we can compete, and I think that’s in the backcourt, sa guard namin,” he added.
And helping them hone their guards are seldom-used players like Gryann Mendoza and Ping Exciminiano, which Reyes tipped his hat to.
“‘The important thing is yung ginagawa nina Gryann at nina Kib, what’s important is how they push Jayson and Mikey in practice.
“We have guys like Exciminiano, for example, na talagang kapag dumepensa sa practice, pinahihirapan sina Jayson, Mikey and Roger Pogoy. That’s very important for us kasi as you can see sa games, grabe ang depensa,” he said.
“They really key on Jayson, they really key on Roger and now Mikey. So it’s just a good option for us to have,” he said.