Coach Ravena still proud of TNT despite finals defeat

Published December 12, 2020, 2:10 PM

by Jeremiah Sevilla

Poy Erram of TNT fights for the loose ball in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. (PBA Finals)

TNT coach Bong Ravena said there’s nothing to be ashamed after they finished as runner-up in the PBA Philippine Cup bubble. 

The Tropang Giga bowed down to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, 4-1, in the Finals capped by an 82-78 loss in Game Five last Wednesday night 

But Ravena’s wards didn’t just roll over and die as they even took the Game Three convincingly with an 88-67 victory despite dealing with injuries to key players Ray Parks Jr. and Jayson Castro. 

“The positive thing is we made it to the finals,” said the soft-spoken coach, who steered TNT to a second championship series appearance in his second year at the helm.

The Tropang Giga finished the exhausting elimination round as the third seed after posting a 7-4 record and the superior quotient to come out on top of a five-way tie. 

Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, they emphatically disposed of Alaska, 104-83, in the quarterfinals before outlasting the Matthew Wright and Calvin Abueva-led Phoenix in the best-of-five semifinals. 

However, the injury bug hit TNT in the worst time possible. 

Parks, the statistical points frontrunner after the final four, aggravated his left calf strain after the Tropang Giga’s dismal 100-94 overtime loss in Game One where he scored a team-high 20 points. 

Castro joined him in the injury list as he went down early in the third quarter of their 98-88 defeat in Game Four due to his hurting knees caused by bone spurs. 

Ravena admitted that their presence could have made a difference in the series, but he was quick to give credit to Ginebra, which managed to avoid major injuries to its leading cagers. 

“No excuses. Ginebra deserved the championship,” he said. 

Still, a very bright spot in Roger Pogoy emerged as he almost singlehandedly carried TNT in the finals, firing 26.4 points on a fiery 42.48-percent field goal shooting. 

Big man Poy Erram also stepped up in his first season with the team drafted him back in 2013 as well as veteran Jay Washington and Simon Enciso while Troy Rosario regained his form in the titular clash. 

Ravena is hoping that injuries will not get in their way should they have another shot at ending their title drought since 2015.

“Hopefully, we can give ourselves a chance next conference and stay healthy.”