TNT KaTropa seeks to keep transitioning to its new, youthful identity while sustaining its momentum late in the PBA Philippine Cup at the same time as it squares off against San Miguel Beer on Saturday at the Ynares Centers in Antipolo.
The Texters are starting to go on a roll, having won their last two games and six of 10 overall, but are facing a tough roadblock in the pacesetting Beermen, who are already assured of the top spot in the quarterfinals after winning all but one of their first 10 games.
But TNT coach Nash Racela is refusing to look at the Beermen as a gauge for his team’s progress, stressing the Texters are focusing on their own transition.
“We’re not really looking for tests as a team because we know we have a lot of things to still work on,” the rookie TNT coach said after their 102-98 win over GlobalPort last Wednesday. “I think gasgas na gasgas na yung ‘trust the process,’ but even with us having the most veterans in the PBA, we’re still going through that process of really changing things.”
One example of the youth movement was Racela opting for Troy Rosario instead of veteran Ranidel de Ocampo down the stretch against the Batang Pier. The sophomore Rosario committed a late offensive foul, but made up for it and repaid his coach’s faith by forcing a tough shot, drawing a foul, and knocking down two charities that sealed the deal.
“So rather than really focus on other teams, mas gusto naming silipin yung sarili namin, kung paano kami magi-improve,” Racela continued. “And then hopefully by doing that, we will always have a good chance winning ballgames.”
“Hopefully (against) San Miguel, ganun pa rin sana,” he added as the Texters take their final shot at No. 2 with a win over the Beermen in their matchup that tips off at 5:15 p.m. preceded by an encounter betwee Star and eliminated Meralco at 3 o’clock.