SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – TNT will miss the services of Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. in its crucial Game Three meeting with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, Friday night.
Tropang Giga head coach Bong Ravena said that the 27-year-old isn’t fit to play yet due to the left calf strain he aggravated in the series opener last Sunday, where he played for nearly 44 minutes in the 94-100 overtime loss.
Parks was also out in Game Two last Wednesday no thanks to the injury that kept him from playing in TNT’s season debut last Oct. 11. His absence was sorely missed as the Tropa collapsed in the endgame, 90-92.
“‘Di pa po kaya maglaro tonight,” wrote the seasoned mentor in a short text message to Tiebreaker Times hours before the 6:00 p.m. tipoff.
This, indeed, is a major blow for a TNT side that aims to avoid falling into a dangerous 0-3 hole in the race-to-four series.
But even if it appears to bode well for the Gin Kings, head coach Tim Cone remains wary. Parks’ absence back in Game Two, he said, made his charges a bit complacent, thus the 15-point deficit they fell into in the third.
Moreover, the Tropang Giga received plenty of contributions that night as they rallied behind their injured comrade, with Roger Pogoy leading the way with his 38 points on a 59-percent clip from the field.
“For us to think it was going to be any easier without Bobby Ray Parks was really wrong thinking on our part and that is something that we’re going to have to try to correct as we go forward,” he said.
The league’s most accomplished coach isn’t also that confident even if the Barangay are up 2-0 in the series given how they have played in those games, and he expects no less than a fightback from their corporate rivals.
“There’s not a whole lot to pump your chest on, and say, ‘Wow we’re so much better. Look, we’re up 2-0.’ We can’t say that. These games could have gone either way, and that means a 2-0 lead means nothing with a team like TNT,” he said.
“I honestly, and truly feel that from the bottom of my heart. How can we be comfortable at this point knowing they dominated us pretty much the last two games, and yet we were able to win?”