Tropa Prepares for Meralco Bolts' Fightback in PBA Semis
The TNT Tropang Giga is leading the Meralco Bolts 1-0 in the series, but they know they cannot afford to be complacent. Despite their lead, the Tropang Giga are well aware of their challenge as they face a dangerous opponent in the Bolts.
Coach Jojo Lastimosa is new to the Tropa, but he has enough league experience to appreciate the nature and history of the Bolts as longtime PBA Governors’ Cup challengers. He concedes that the Bolts have lost the opening game of a series before and come back to win the following three, as they did against TNT in 2016 Final Four. He also mentions their 2019 semifinal match, where the Tropang Giga led 1-0 and 2-1, but Meralco rallied to win the series.
With this in mind, Lastimosa is pushing his team not to relax and to prepare for a difficult game against the Bolts in Game 2 of their PBA Season 47 Governors Cup semifinal matchup. The game will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at Antipolo’s Ynares Sports Complex.
“They’ll be bursting with enthusiasm. Meralco is a tremendously diligent squad that no one can match. We should be OK if we can match their enthusiasm and energy, especially on defense, “He stated.
Lastimosa is especially concerned about Chris Newsome, who had a pitiful 10-point game in the previous round following a 33-point outburst in the team’s semifinal victory against the Magnolia Hotshots. Yet, Lastimosa feels his team will be ready for whatever the Bolts throw at them.
While the Tropang Giga started strong, winning the first game by 30 points, Lastimosa isn’t taking anything for granted. He observes that Meralco may have lacked energy in the previous match, maybe owing to their emotional triumph in the last round, but he expects them to come back stronger in the next game.
Meanwhile, Meralco coach Norman Black concentrates on containing TNT acquisition Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. He recognizes that not only his scoring ability makes him dangerous but also his ability to facilitate for his teammates. Black sees this as a test for his import, KJ McDaniels, and feels he must improve for the squad to win the series.
Hollis-Jefferson was flawless in the previous game, with a triple-double of 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists, as well as two steals and two blocks. Pogoy also had a strong game, scoring 21 points on 5-of-8 three-point attempts, while Calvin Oftana, Mikey Williams, and Jayson Castro all contributed with at least 12 points.
Overall, both sides are preparing for what promises to be an interesting and hard-fought encounter, and it remains to be seen who will emerge victorious in this tight series.