THE man behind Tropang TNT was as puzzled as everyone for the sudden drop in form of the team which headed to the PBA Governors Cup as the No. 1 seed.
Team owner Manny V. Pangilinan admitted the Texters were not the same unit that ended with a near flawless record at the end of the elimination round of the season-ending conference.
In his own very words, he didn’t see the flagship franchise of the MVP Group play with ‘intensity, commitment, and energy’ the way Bolts did in the last three games of the best-of-five semifinal series, which they won, 3-1.
“Why TNT doesn’t want to put the effort is a big mystery,” he said after emerging from the gloomy dugout of the Texters. “I don’t’ understand it.”
After finishing the elims with a 10-1 record and then winning two more in the playoffs, including Game One of the semis against the Bolts, the Texters suddenly forgot how to win.
They lost the last three games of the semis, the coup de grace eventually coming in the form of a 94-88 stunner in Game Four on Monday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Naturally, it appeared like there was death in the family inside the team dugout shortly after the game. Naturally too, no one among the TNT personnel and players bothered to talk and say their piece during the time Pangilinan was around.
“Wala, ayaw magsalita,” he said when asked what he told the boys. “There’s no point in … hindi rin naman papasok sa utak nila. I think let them process the defeat.”
But he’s not about to deny coach Norman Black and the Bolts their moment, congratulating the ballclub which just gained its very first finals appearance in franchise history.
Pangilinan stressed the Bolts obviously ‘wanted to win more.’
“They played a good series, and to have beaten a team like TNT is quite a feat,” said the chairman of PLDT and Smart Communications.
“It’s a tribute to Meralco, a tribute to the Bolts. They deserve to win.”