MANILA, Philippines – With Best Import candidate Glen Rice Jr. at the helm, the TNT KaTropa have been a force to reckon with, ending the eliminations with a 4-game winning streak against top 4 teams Meralco, Ginebra and Star.
But after suffering a 105-102 quarterfinals loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, TNT head coach Nash Racela knows that they can’t just rely solely on Rice, who scored just 19 points on Wednesday, September 27 after averaging 34 in the last 4 games.
“The locals, they have big responsibilities, too, you can’t just depend on one guy,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela. “In an import-laden conference, locals would be key.”
TNT’s locals did not actually have a poor performance against the Elasto Painters. Four locals finished in double figures with Kelly Williams and Jayson Castro scoring 23 and 22 points, respectively.
The Elasto Painters built a 20-point lead midway through the last quarter before TNT trimmed it to 3, 102-105, with 30 left in the game. Gabe Norwood made it a two possession game for Rain or Shine with his free throw as the KaTropa missed both of their three-point attempts.
“We lacked the energy, body language wasn’t that good. Rain or Shine was just more aggressive, they won a lot of 50-50 balls today, ‘pag ganun, mahihirapan ka manalo (it’s hard to win when those things happen),” added Racela.
Racela lamented that they did not take advantage of having a win-once incentive but said they would just have to move on and focus on preventing another loss.
“We’re forced to a do-or-die game on Friday. Again, we just have to do our part, review the game and find ways to win.” – Rappler.com
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