TNT broke its title drought in 2021, following the return of the coach that brought them to glory years ago. The championship also saw the birth of a new star in the PBA that may well be in contention for an MVP plum despite being a rookie. Here’s a look at the special year for the Tropang GIGA.
A familiar face returned on the TNT sidelines last February as the ballclub announced the return of Chot Reyes on the sidelines, replacing active consultant Mark Dickel. The coaching change was on the heels of TNT’s runner-up finish in the 2020 Philippine Cup, with Reyes coming back after nine years with TNT, a team he led to four titles prior to his return.
PARKS GOES TO JAPAN
Last March, Bobby Ray Parks announced on his social media account that he will not play in the PBA in 2021 following the expiring of his contract with TNT after the 2020 season. But TNT team owner Manny V. Pangilinan questioned the reason behind Parks’ decision, even posting a cryptic post on Facebook of a photo of Parks, who Pangilinan believed was in California, in La Union. Parks later signed with Nagoya in the Japan B.League, a move that had the blessing of TNT management.
TROY FALLS HARD IN FINALS GAME
The 2021 PBA Philippine Cup finals had its share of controversy after Troy Rosario suffered a dislocated finger for an awkward fall in Game 3 on October 24. The incident happened in the third quarter when Rosario was bumped midair by Jackson Corpuz, causing him to fall down on the floor. Rosario also sustained a spinal shock in the incident.
MIKEY WILLIAMS FINALS MVP WIN
The Tropang GIGA got a gem in the draft last March after picking Mikey Williams fourth overall after obtaining the rights from NLEX in a trade. Technically a rookie but has vast experience overseas including a stint in the NBA G League, Williams provided an immediate impact to TNT, which only lost once in the 11 elimination round games. He averaged 27.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in the finals.
TNT WINS PHILIPPINE CUP
The Tropang GIGA ended a six-year wait to win another championship, bagging the Philippine Cup crown with a victory over Magnolia in five games of a best-of-seven series. With Reyes back at the helm, TNT went on a roll, topping the elimination round with a 10-1 record, and beating Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals. Before winning the title, the Tropang GIGA also survived San Miguel in the semifinals to win the series. On October 29, TNT defeated Magnolia, 94-79, behind the exploits of Mikey Williams after he scored 24 points in Game Five. Aside from Williams, Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Poy Erram, and the returning Kelly Williams also played key roles in the title victory along with the second stringers that were playfully known as the "Kurimaw Boys."
We are now on Quento! Download the app to enjoy more articles and videos from SPIN.ph and other Summit Media websites.