Asian basketball

Hollis-Jefferson brothers show way as TNT rips Taipei Fubon for breakthrough EASL win

Martin Mendoza

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Hollis-Jefferson brothers show way as TNT rips Taipei Fubon for breakthrough EASL win

FAMILY STRENGTH. TNT forward Rahir Hollis-Jefferson controls the ball against the Taipei defense in the 2023 East Asia Super League

East Asia Super League

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and his older brother Rahlir combine for 57 points to lead the TNT Tropang Giga to their first win in the East Asia Super League after a 0-4 start

MANILA, Philippines – The TNT Tropang Giga finally cracked the win column of the East Asia Super League (EASL) following an 80-69 rout of the Taipei Fubon Braves at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna on Wednesday, December 20.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson delivered the goods for the Tropang Giga with an all-around showing of 35 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.

Rondae, however, exited the game with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after colliding with Taipei’s Chan Fan Po-Yen head-first inside the paint.  

Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, Rondae’s older brother, made a good account of himself in his TNT debut as he put up his own well-rounded stat line of 22 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks.

Rahlir was recently tapped by TNT to replace Quincy Miller as its second EASL import after the Tropang Giga’s 0-4 start to the tournament. 

“We brought him in for chemistry and energy. So far, he’s giving both tremendously,” said TNT assistant coach Josh Reyes of the 32-year-old Rahlir. 

“We believe that the more he settles down with the squad, with the situation, it will be much better. But so far, so good,” added Reyes.

After leading by only 4 points at the end of the third quarter, TNT turned on the jets and opened the final frame on a fiery 8-0 blast, capped by a Calvin Oftana triple, to create a double-digit separation over Taipei, 70-58.

The Tropang Giga never looked back from that point on, extending its lead to its largest at 14 points, 80-66, off a jumper by Rahlir with only 1:22 left to play. 

Like the Hollis-Jefferson brothers, Calvin Oftana also breached double-digit scoring for TNT with 15 markers, along with 9 boards. 

Meanwhile, Chris Johnson paced Taipei in the loss with 19 points and a game-high 20 rebounds, but turned the ball over seven times. 

Filipino-American guard Sedrick Barefield added 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists for the three-time defending P. League+ champion Fubon Braves, who defeated the Tropang Giga in their first EASL encounter last November 15, 106-97.

TNT will look to make it two in a row when it hosts Rhenz Abando and the Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters at the PhilSports Arena on January 24, 2024. –

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