In the wake of their third straight loss on Wednesday night, TNT head coach Nash Racela disclosed that the trade reports involving the Katropa and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, which came out Tuesday afternoon, had distracted the whole team.
In the news broken by Spin.ph, the Elasto Painters will be sending combo guard Jericho Cruz to the Texters in exchange for rookie Sidney Onwubere and a 2018 first round draft pick. The papers, however, have yet to be approved.
“I was really surprised yesterday when I read about the interview of coach Caloy [Garcia]. I think it had an effect in our game, because when I entered the dugout, iba yung mukha ng players eh,” shared Racela.
“It was really a surprise to them.
“I talked to them right before the game, told them the best way to deal with it is just be professionals. It’s part of the business,” the second-year pro coach added.
The Katropa, however, didn’t seem to handle the news accordingly. They played uncharacteristically in the majority of their match with a well-balanced GlobalPort Batang Pier, eventually bowing out, 84-99.
“Masyadong malaki yung nilamang ng Global. They really played well,” said Racela, as the Batang Pier were able to lead by as high as 30, 67-37, in the third canto. “They [also] made their shots from the outside at the start.
“Tapos, they even made tough shots when we were making our run, so mahirap bumalik ‘pag ganun.”
With yet another setback, TNT’s playoff hopes are flatlining, especially now that they have gone down to 4-6. But Racela remains unfazed, saying that they still have a chance as long as they hurdle their last challenge: the NLEX Road Warriors.
“At this point, hawak mo pa rin yung kapalaran mo because for us to be able to give ourselves a chance, we still need to win that last game. If we lose that, wala na tayong pinaguusapan,” said the former FEU Tamaraws head coach.
“But if we still correct things and get one win, maybe that gives us some kahit na maliit na chance.”