East Asia Super League

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson gives all in return; TNT finds little local support in EASL ouster

JR Isaga

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Rondae Hollis-Jefferson gives all in return; TNT finds little local support in EASL ouster

ALL OUT. TNT import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson drives against the Anyang defense in the East Asia Super League

East Asia Super League

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson hardly misses a beat despite a one-month injury absence, but TNT still falls out of the running to visiting Anyang in the EASL

MANILA, Philippines – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a man on a mission despite facing grave odds in his return with the TNT Tropang Giga.

Playing in his first game since injuring his neck in East Asia Super League (EASL) competition last December 21, the former NBA starter left nothing in the tank for his current PBA squad, dropping 33 points on 15-of-30 shooting to go with 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in a full 40-minute run.

Even with Rondae’s older brother Rahlir going for 20 points, 12 boards, 5 dimes, and 4 swipes – also in a 40-minute marathon – their efforts were just not enough as the Korean Basketball League’s (KBL) Anyang Red Boosters broke away late to oust the Tropang Giga from playoff contention, 88-76.

Rest time for the Hollis-Jeffersons was a luxury TNT simply did not have while facing elimination on Wednesday, January 24, as it was missing top stars Calvin Oftana, Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, and Poy Erram after also being eliminated from the 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Anyang, however, also played with personnel issues as it only fielded seven players the entire game, but it made the most of what it had as it connected on 15-of-30 from three-point land as a unit.

With Filipino import Rhenz Abando sitting out his homecoming game due to a lingering spine injury, Seongwon Choi led the winning charge in trademark South Korean style, lighting up the PhilSports Arena with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting and a stunning 7-of-7 clip from beyond the arc.

Imports Robert Carter and Jamil Wilson, who also did not sit the entire game, tallied 22 and 15 points, respectively.

With the win to rise to a 3-2 record in the home-and-away league, the Red Boosters have secured one of four semifinals spots regardless of their final game’s result in Group A.

Unfortunately for the PBA and the Philippines, the idle Meralco Bolts (1-4) have also been eliminated from contention in Group B by way of the Ryukyu Golden Kings’ (3-3) 90-67 beatdown of the New Taipei Kings (4-1) earlier in the day.

With two games left, only the Seoul SK Knights (2-2) may knock Ryukyu off the second seed as Meralco only has one shot left to improve its final standing.

The Scores

Anyang 88 – Choi 23, Carter 22, Park 15, Wilson 15, Bae 11, Jung 2, Ko 0.

TNT 76 – Hollis-Jefferson, Ro. 33, Hollis-Jefferson, Ra. 20, Reyes 6, Khobuntin 5, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Heruela 2, Pogoy 2, Ponferrada 2, Tungcab 0, Aurin 0.

Quarters: 34-19, 53-41, 71-61, 88-76.

– Rappler.com

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