CLARK — Energized by its last showing, TNT Tropang Giga gets another crack at Barangay Ginebra’s scalp as it attempts to level the best-of-seven series Sunday in Game Four of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Gym.
Though still training at 2-1, TNT appears to be gaining momentum given that it pulled off the trick without one of its top gunners in Ray Parks owing to a left calf strain.
With Parks sidelined, Roger Pogoy, veteran Jayson Castro and big men Troy Rosario and Poy Erram stepped up to the plate as they led Tropang Giga to an 88-67 demolition of the Kings.
Pogoy had 18 points, six rebounds and six steals while Castro backed him up with 15 points and ten boards.
But Rosario and Erram, who took the spotlight with 15 points, three rebounds and two shotblocks and Erram posted 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Parks is said to be returning to active duty as TNT prepares to show Ginebra that it’s previous performance was not a fluke.
“The fact that we were able to stop Ginebra’s main players while maintaining our lead is already a big thing for us, hopefully we can carry it to the next game,” said head coach Bong Ravena, who is being assisted by active team consultant Mark Dickel of New Zealand in calling the shots.
“We will still apply the same mentality for our next game, there is nothing to celebrate about our previous win. We’re just hoping that Ray could finally play for Game 4.”
But winning back-to-back games against Ginebra is never an easy task.
Headed by the multititled coach Tim Cone, the Kings are roaring to get back on track in order to impose a 3-1 lead that would put them one step closer from grabbing the prestigious all-Filipino crown.
Ginebra mainstays LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar led the squad’s offense the last time as they registered 19 and 15 points, respectively, but saw no contribution from the bench.
Stanley Pringle was a non-factor as he played his worst game in the finals, scoring only 11 points on a dismal 4-of-14 shooting from the field.
Cone insists they still have the control of the series.
“Just like what I tell my players the whole time, we are not here to win a game, we are here to win a series,” Cone said.
“We’re still in control of the series. They might have broken a little momentum that we had, and we’ll see if we can get it back.”
“We have a chance in the next game to either start from zero again or get a commanding lead. That’s where our focus is.”