TNT Dominates NorthPort, Secures Quarterfinals Spot, and Sends Batang Pier Packing | PBA Governors' Cup 2023
TNT Tropang Giga demonstrated that their extended break did not hinder their PBA Governor’s Cup performance, dominating NorthPort Batang Pier with a strong second quarter. The Tropa shook off the rust from their inactivity since February 19, outscoring NorthPort 47-16 in the crucial fourth quarter. TNT’s huge onslaught was led by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Roger Pogoy, who surprised even their coach Jojo Lastimosa.
Despite the team’s lengthy layoff, TNT’s defense improved, holding NorthPort to 11-of-29 shooting in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Tropa was successful on 16 of 29 shoots, allowing them to seize control of the game. Coach Lastimosa was pleased with his team’s performance, saying, “The lads picked it up. Second quarter namin, depensa namin bumalik na, and then shooting namin pumapasok na. I didn’t even realize we’d scored 47 points in the second quarter because they were in such a rhythm.”
TNT’s dominant effort clinched their seventh straight win and ninth in ten games, putting them in the PBA Governor’s Cup quarterfinals. The Tropa will finish at least second in the eliminations, while NorthPort has been officially eliminated from the quarterfinals race, with Phoenix Super LPG taking their place.
TNT now redirects their emphasis to their upcoming game against Barangay Ginebra, which is sitting on an 8-2 slate, on Friday for the No. 1 place. Despite the game’s importance, Coach Lastimosa dismissed the team’s status, adding, “It doesn’t matter whether I’m number one or two. It’s good to win against Ginebra, but it’s still (only) an elimination game. Even if we beat Ginebra, we still need to find a way to advance far in the playoffs. What I’m getting at is that it’s only one game. Ginebra lang nakataon iyon.”
NorthPort’s eighth loss in 11 games ended their aspirations of catching Phoenix at No. 8 and competing for the last quarterfinals ticket. NorthPort could not keep up with TNT’s strength as the game went, despite transferring their zeal into the game and leading by 27-15.
Ultimately, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led TNT’s attack with 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Roger Pogoy contributed 22 points and Calvin Oftana scored 16. NorthPort was led by Kevin Murphy’s 35 points and ten rebounds, with Arvin Tolentino adding 19 points.
Overall, TNT Tropang Giga demonstrated that their extended break did not hinder their play, advancing to the PBA Governor’s Cup quarterfinals with a stunning victory against NorthPort Batang Pier.