TNT goes for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals when it faces streaking NorthPort on Friday in the final day of the PBA 46th Season Governors’ Cup eliminations at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
TNT vs NorthPort preview
The Tropang GIGA (6-4) look to clinch the No. 3 spot in their game at 6 p.m. but standing in their way are the Batang Pier (5-5), who have won five straight games to keep their hopes alive for a quarterfinal berth.
TNT coach Chot Reyes said beating NorthPort will not be an easy task as it looks to contain import Jamel Artis and Robert Bolick in the game.
“I know we are in for a very, very tough battle against NorthPort, which is the hottest team in the league right now. That’s where we are going to be tested. We’ll see how we play there,” said Reyes.
Reyes was disappointed with the defensive effort of the team in their 127-107 win to Terrafirma on Wednesday. He warned that a similar performance would be dangerous against NorthPort with its offensive firepower.
“It has to be a defensive mindset. We have to find ways to stop the NorthPort offensive juggernaut. All those guys are buckets. Their import, Jamel, Robert Bolick, we know Arwind is playing some of his best basketball of his life. Malonzo as well,” said Reyes.
Reyes’ team will play against a familiar face in Bolick, who played with Gilas Pilipinas during the recent Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers. Reyes said Bolick is such a scorer that TNT could only hope that he misses his shots during the important game.
“The best thing we can do is make life difficult for him, make him work for his shots, and hope that he misses more than he makes. In the end, what I’ve learned against super offensive players like Robert Bolick is we can only do so much. Just make sure that we plan our defensive schemes very well, execute them, and in the end, we can throw all defenses at him, and he can still make a fantastic shot. I think that’s just our approach,” said Reyes.
The first game will equally have quarterfinal implications with Meralco taking on Phoenix Super LPG at 3 p.m.
The Bolts (6-4) also go for a twice-to-beat advantage against the Fuel Masters (5-5), who are also out to stay alive in the race for quarterfinal positioning.
A Phoenix defeat means that the Fuel Masters would hope for a Batang Pier loss in the second game to arrange a playoff for No. 8.
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