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Is TNT peaking at the right time? Chot hopes otherwise

TNT on Wednesday racked up its fourth straight victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup by conquering the also-ran Terrafirma, booking a playoff ticket in the process while also keeping its twice-to-beat aspirations alive.

The Tropang Giga are now in the midst of their best streak in this conference after losing four of their first six assignments. And for head coach Chot Reyes, this stretch is all thanks to the team being complete again.

“I think what we have is we’re having a complete lineup — finally,” he said moments after their 127-107 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

It would be recalled that the squad faced manpower problems early in the tilt. Both Troy Rosario and Kib Montalbo were out due to injuries, which they played through in the 2021 Philippine Cup to help the squad rule the tournament.

McKenzie Moore wasn’t spared by the injury bug as well. The American import was nursing a jumper’s knee in the few games he was with the team, thus the subpar numbers he had. He was eventually replaced by Aaron Fuller.2021-22-PBA-Governors-Cup-Alaska-vs-TNT-McKenzie-Moore Is TNT peaking at the right time? Chot hopes otherwise Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

It didn’t even stop there. Just as when TNT welcomed Rosario and Montalbo back, it had to make do without Roger Pogoy in its first four games of the season resumption as he suffered a calf injury in one of their practices.

The Tropa also saw big man Poy Erram hurt his back in their narrow loss to Magnolia last February 12, though he sat out just one game and managed to see action right after to help his side clobber rivals San Miguel Beer.2021-22-PBA-Governors-Cup-TNT-vs-Magnolia-JP-Erram Is TNT peaking at the right time? Chot hopes otherwise Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

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Those injuries, at that time, were indeed a concern for Reyes and Co., since the team’s core made up the majority of the Gilas Pilipinas pool that went on to play in the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers’ Big Dome bubble.

But then, those affected have been able to recover on time, and in fact, suited up for the Nationals that battled India and New Zealand.

So by the time they returned to the PBA, TNT is finally complete, carrying over as well the momentum they built before leaving for Gilas duties. They won in back-to-back fashion, first against SMB and then defending champs Ginebra.

“So, now pa lang kami nabubuo,” offered Reyes, whose team has gained a share of the fourth spot of the standings with Meralco with a 6-4 record.

This streak of theirs could not have come at a better time, especially with the playoffs fast approaching–the quarters could start by next week. Asked if the Tropang Giga are now peaking at the right time, Reyes is hoping otherwise.

“I hope we’re not peaking because there are still a lot of things for us to work on in our game,” the outspoken bench tactician said.

Reyes pointed out the need to defend better after being far from pleased with the effort he saw versus Terrafirma, who actually kept it close in the first half before losing steam late as TNT pulled away to the 20-point win.

But the good thing, he said, is that there’s another chance for his charges to be better. The Tropa are going up against NorthPort on Friday in the last game of the elimination round, a match between two of the league’s hottest teams.

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The Batang Pier are heading into the match with a five-game winning streak, and vowed that they will go all out in a bid to reach the quarters.

“Our defense was horrible today. The good thing is that there are still a couple more games, and I know we’re in for a very, very tough battle on Friday against NorthPort, which is the hottest team in the league now,” said Reyes.

“So that’s where we’re going to be tested. We’ll see how well we play there.”

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Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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