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Jolas marvels at Cliff Jopia’s vast improvements

ANTIPOLO – TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa is pleased with the progress he has seen from Clifford Jopia in the ongoing PBA On Tour.

The 6-foot-8 youngster is one of the four San Beda players brought in by the Tropang Giga for the preseason tournament through special guest licenses (SGL), marking a reunion of sorts between him and the cage legend.

Jopia spent his first year in college at Far Eastern University, at a time when Lastimosa was a player development consultant of the Tamaraws.

“Even si Jopia was a revelation tonight, kasi player namin sa FEU ‘yun eh,” said the 59-year-old mentor, who was first brought into the program in 2014.

Lastimosa said as much moments after TNT’s first On Tour game versus NorthPort Friday at the Ynares Center here, which ended up in a 99-90 loss.

But the lanky big man from Cebu served as one of the few bright spots, at least in his mentor’s eyes, in the defeat, wherein he finished with five points, seven rebounds, and a block in 14 minutes off the bench.

Lastimosa lauded how Jopia has become better composure-wise inside the court, something that he didn’t see during their time together in FEU.

“Hindi naman naglalaro ng mahaba [noon] kasi may import eh. Now, he actually showed a little bit of poise inside. Wala masyadong offensive skillset, just around the basket, but the way he defends, yung demeanor niya,” he said.

“I was surprised na mas ano na siya ngayon, kumbaga, hindi na siya nagpa-panic kumpara nung dati sa FEU pa siya.”

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Written By

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

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