Roger, Rondae connive; Tropa torch Bossing

Photo by Rio Deluvio

Games Thursday:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

4:30 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Terrafirma

6:45 p.m. – NLEX vs Magnolia

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson didn’t wait long to make an impact while Roger Pogoy stole the show as TNT Tropang Giga booked a dominant 138-116 victory over Blackwater in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Tropang Giga took the calculated risk of playing Hollis-Jefferson pending the release of his Letter of Clearance from the International Basketball Federation’s head office in Geneva.

“I think the LOC was already sent,” TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa said, referring to the import who is fresh from a stint with the Jeonju KCC Egis in the Korean Basketball League.

“What the head office from Geneva was waiting for was the release papers from Korea this morning. We submitted it already, and both the Korean federation and the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) submitted the documents to Geneva.”

Still, it was worth it as he flirted with a triple-double performance, finishing with 37 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in nearly 35 minutes of action to banner the Tropang Giga to their sixth win in seven matches.

But the day belonged to Pogoy.

The deadeye gunner from Cebu dropped a game-high 40 points on a red-hot 13-of-21 shooting from the field with seven three-pointers together with five assists and five rebounds.

It was the highest scoring production of Pogoy since erupting for 45 points during their 100-95 victory over Alaska in the Philippine Cup in 2020.

“This is a good confidence-booster for me as a player and it could carry over in the next game. Hopefully, I can sustain it,” Pogoy said.

Pogoy’s explosive performance was a welcome sight, but Hollis-Jefferson’s addition brought in more productive dynamics for the Tropang Giga, who became even better with the inclusion of the reinforcement who had career averages of nine points and 5.5 rebounds while playing as an undersized forward in the National Basketball Association.

In his first game, the Tropang Giga immediately felt his impact.

“I think he had one triple-double performance in the NBA, so we know he can pass. We had a lot of good looks, not only Roger, but the other teammates. He’s a willing passer. There are a lot of things that changed in our team’s dynamics,” Lastimosa said.

“We’ve been moving the ball around more.”

Aside from Pogoy, several players were able to raise their game a notch higher, including Glenn Khobuntin, who had a double-double showing of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Mikey Williams had 14 points, six rebounds and six assists while Calvin Oftana contributed 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

The Scores:

TNT 138 – Pogoy 40, Hollis-Jefferson 37, M. Williams 14, Khobuntin 13, Oftana 11, K. Williams 7, Chua 6, Cruz 4, Montalbo 4, Acuno 2, Varilla 0, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0

BLACKWATER 116 – T. Williams 22, Casio 21, Ilagan 16, Hill 15, McCarthy 11, Taha 10, Sena 3, Amer 3, Ayonayon 3, Torralba 3, Banal 2, Ular 2, Escoto 2, Suerte 2, DiGregorio 1

QUARTERS: 31-22, 68-50, 111-87, 138-116

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