Jan 25, 2023

Hudson tallies double-double in debut as TNT beat Phoenix

TNT beat Phoenix to the draw in giving its newly-installed coach a winning debut.

On Jojo Lastimosa's debut at the helm, the Tropang Giga turned back the Jamike Jarin-coached Fuel Masters, 123-119, to get its PBA Governors' Cup campaign off and running Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

PBA newbie Jalen Hudson fired 34 points spiked by six triples to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists while RR Pogoy and Calvin Oftana rifled in 21 and 17, respectively, to lead TnT to the opening victory.

Hudson, Pogoy and Oftana spearheaded a key 15-2 blast early in the fourth period to propel the Tropang Giga to a 14-point cushion that they protected all the way to the finish.

It was a good start for TNT, which are coming off a missed quarterfinal letdown in the Commissioner's Cup, and Lastimosa, the team manager who assumed head coaching chores as coach Chot Reyes concentrates on Gilas Pilipinas.

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" In a way, I'm fortunate I already have a team that's built to win. So it's just a matter of utilizing my coaches about how we wanna attack the game collectively and how to make the players listen to our voices," said Lastimosa, who is assisted by active consultant Slavoljub Guronovic, senior consultant Reyes, and assistant coaches Josh Reyes, Bong Ravena, Sandy Arespacochaga, Ranidel de Ocampo, Yuri Escueta and Mau Belen.

Lastimosa, who had a previous experience as interim coach with NLEX when coach Yeng Guiao was with Gilas in 2019, said he' still getting accustomed to being in charge.

"I'm still groping," he admitted. "I need to be better. The players need to be better and we wanna improve every game."

Lastimosa believes his team's defense needs improvement.

"We have to look at the defensive side because last conference our defense was suffering, we were giving up too many points. And it happened tonight when we allowed Phoenix to score 60 in the first half," he said.

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"But we played so much better defense in the second half. But I think more than anything, it wasn't really a defensive game but it was more of us making big shots than the other side. I think that was the difference," he added.

Du'Vaughn Maxwell with 21, and Jason Perkins with 20, led the way for Phoenix, which saw its post-Topex Robinson era start on a losing note.

The Scores:

TNT 123 - Hudson 34, Pogoy 21, Oftana 17, Chua 10, K.Williams 10, Castro 10, M.Williams 9, Tungcab 9, Khobuntin 3, Varilla 0, Montalbo 0, Marcelo 0.

Phoenix 119 - Maxwell 21, Perkins 20, Garcia 18, Tio 16, Serrano 12, Jazul 11, Alejandro 8, Muyang 5, Camacho 4, Soyud 2, Manganti 2, Lojera 0, Lalata 0, Adamos 0, Go 0.

Quarters: 29-33, 60-60, 93-89, 123-119.