Nov 22, 2022

TNT eyes crucial win versus Bay Area to stave off elimination

PACESETTING Bay Area and playoffs-chasing TNT duke it out Wednesday in a titanic showdown critical to their respective PBA Commissioner's Cup bids Wednesday at the PhilSports Arena.

The Dragons, who wrested pole position with a 95-89 win over Magnolia last Saturday, seek to finish the elims with a 10-2 card and ensure themselves of a coveted Top 2 seeding and twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.

The injury-hit Tropang Giga, who dropped to ninth place following an 89-85 setback to Barangay Ginebra with an all-Filipino crew last Sunday, set out to improve on their 4-6 record and return to the Magic 8 with new reinforcement Matt Mobley in tow.

"It's an important game for them and an important game for us," said Bay Area coach Brian Goorjian.

The 3 p.m. tiff will be a battle between two national coaches - Goorjian of Australia and Chot Reyes of TNT and Gilas Pilipinas, who had previous coaching encounters before in the 1990s and late 2000s.

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"(Reyes is) a man I respect and I like and I know his team's gonna be tough and prepared," said Goorjian.

The Tropang Giga are hoping to overcome injuries as they try to save this campaign.

With Cameron Oliver sitting out the Ginebra game due to a sprained knee and would be sidelined for two weeks to a month, TNT brought in Mobley, a veteran of the European leagues.

Mobley, who played in Germany, France, Turkey and Belgium, is undersized in the mid-season tournament at his listed height of 6-foot-4.

"We expect Matt to be our creator and inject energy in our offense. He's not a big guy who can dominate inside but we are hoping we can make our team faster (with Mobley,)" said team manager Jojo Lastimosa.

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The Tropang Giga also hope for the best for veteran playmaker Jayson Castro, who limped out of the Ginebra game with a sprained ankle in the third quarter.

"Jayson is day-to-day. It's not as severe as we have anticipated but it's still sore," said Lastimosa. (OL)