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    Phoenix admits formidable odds against twice-to-beat TNT

    Mission impossible?
    Mar 21, 2023
    Jamike Jarin Phoenix pBA
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    PHOENIX Super LPG hopes to extend its PBA Governors’ Cup campaign on Wednesday, but knows the enormity of the task of beating top seed TNT in the quarterfinals.

    Phoenix coach Jamike Jarin acknowledged that it will be difficult to overcome the twice-to-beat incentive of TNT, but he is trying to stay positive and drawing confidence from the two teams' match in the eliminations.

    The last time the two teams met was way back in January 25 where Phoenix battled bravely before losing to TNT, 123-119, in its conference debut.

    The TNT team that will go to the 3 p.m. game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum will be starkly different, with import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson now leading the charge and RR Pogoy, Mikey Williams, and Calvin Oftana playing at their best.

    “We just had some bad breaks. We lost by four. But definitely, they are a different team right now with the import change and Mikey getting back to his position," said Jarin. "It’s a tall task [beating TNT] because if you look at the statistics, they are number one in almost all the categories,” said Jarin.


    “They have a combination of veteran and young players. They have a good NBA veteran import. But the interesting thing here is the pressure is on them. We are going to come in and we are going to compete for 48 minutes and we are going to have fun doing it.

    "We are not looking at anything else. We are going to look at the game tomorrow,” said Jarin.

    While the defense will be focused on Hollis-Jefferson, Jarin said he is also wary about the play of Pogoy and Oftana - the two key players in the Tropang GIGA's win over Ginebra at the close of the eliminations that enabled TNT to secure the No. 1 seed.

    “Right now, we have to stop Pogoy. After his stint with the EASL, they played two games and Pogoy was killing them. We have to give credit to their import also who has been doing everything. And of course, Mikey is back to his form. Jayson Castro’s leadership coming off the bench, and Calvin Oftana, he has been killing Phoenix last conference not only with TNT and when he was still playing with NLEX. These are the things we really have to look at,” said Jarin.

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    “The only thing that I’ll guarantee is that we are going to compete and we are going to fight and we are going to have fun and we are going to be selfless,” said Jarin.

    The Fuel Masters will be led by import Du’Vaughn Maxwell, who Jarin described as an import who has been under the radar because of the play of his counterparts but is not only effective but also an excellent fit for the team.

    “Du’Vaughn is the reason why we are in the playoffs because he has been mentoring everybody in our team. He is giving great insights on how to defend and how to approach the game with the coaches, including me. It’s been a blessing. Hopefully, we can continue this.

    “The only thing that I’ll guarantee is that we are going to compete and we are going to fight and we are going to have fun and we are going to be selfless,” said Jarin.


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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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