WHILE the job is certainly far from over, Troy Rosario somehow felt a sense of relief as TnT Tropang Giga somehow managed to get back at last year’s tormentor Barangay Ginebra.
With Rosario teaming up with four others, the Tropang Giga sent the Kings packing from the PBA bubble in Bacolor, Pampanga after scoring an 84-71 win Wednesday night to advance outright to the Philippine Cup semifinals.
Rosario finished with 15 points and was among the players to finish in double figures for the top-seeded team whose victory eliminated the reigning, defending champions in the opening round of the playoffs.
Troy Rosario gets payback
That somehow was a soothing feeling for the 29-year-old big man as TnT had its payback time against the same team that beat them for the all-Filipino championship last year in a similar bubble setup in Clark, Pampanga.
“Siyempre masaya kasi bagong team, bagong conference. Tapos yung team na nag-eliminate sa amin sa finals last conference tinalo namin,” said Rosario.
The Kings beat a shorthanded Tropang Giga last year in the finals, 4-1.
TnT went to the game at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym with the mentality of an assassin despite owing a twice-to-beat edge as the no. 1 seeded squad against the eighth-seeded Kings.
“Yung unang sinabi sa amin ni coach (Chot Reyes) sa pre-game kanina is yung urgency, or how bad we wanted it today. Kasi alam namin pag binigyan namin sila ng chance, talagang 50-50 na yan pagdating ng second game,” said Rosario.
“So nalagpasan namin yung challenge ngayon going to the next one.”
It took TnT a while before finally unleashing its full might in the second half against a Ginebra team that continue to miss the services of starters Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar.
With the Tropang Giga now back in full force with the activation of previously injured Glenn Khobuntin and Kib Montalbo, they led the Kings by as many as 84-61 late in the game.
Roger Pogoy led the TnT charges with 16 points, Montalbo had 10, while rookie Mikey Williams finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
TnT will now await the winner of the San Miguel-NorthPort quarterfinals series as its opponent in the best-of-seven semis.