Oct 04, 2022

All-Filipino losing finalist TNT starts new quest, plays Magnolia

WITH their defeat in the recent All-Filipino finals behind them, the TNT Tropang Giga start a new quest, taking on red-hot Magnolia in their PBA Commissioner's Cup debut at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.

Coach Chot Reyes and his Tropa tangle with coach Chito Victolero and the Hotshots at 5:45 p.m. in a rematch of their Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal series won by TNT in six games.

But this is surely a different ballgame.

The Hotshots are roaring on a two-game run with a marquee import find in Serbian Nick Rakocevic while the Tropang Giga are just about to find out what Cameron Oliver can put on the table.

Needless to say the Tropa have high hopes on the 6-foot-8 forward whom coach Reyes is said to be considering as a naturalized prospect for Gilas Pilipinas.

Sponsored content:
A UNLV product, Oliver went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft but has had brief stints with the Houston Rockets and the Atlanta Hawks last season where he churned out good numbers.

He averaged 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in four games with the Rockets and tossed in norms of 11.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in two outings as a Hawk. And he has had solid tours of duty in Australia and in Spain.

He finally makes his initial outing as a TNT import versus Rakocevic who has helped the Hotshots to a 2-0 roll versus Terrafirma and Converge.

The Serbian hotshot put up a monstrous 45-point, 25-rebound performance in their 100-92 win over the Dyip.

Then with a hip issue, Rakocevic scored just 21 points but hauled down 25 rebounds in their 109-105 decision over the FiberXers.

Sponsored content:
Even with Rakocevic's initial output cut down to over a half in his next game, the Hotshots battled through with the locals stepping forward.

Jim Jalalon, Mark Barroca, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva all contributed double-digit outputs.

"Nung first game, masarap ang feeling na naka-45 yung import namin pero ang contribution ng locals ang hinahanap ko. This game, nakita ko yung contribution ng locals, especially the key players. Sila naman ang nagdala nung nag-struggle ang import namin," said Victolero after Magnolia's disposal of Converge. (SB)