TNT hopes to iron out some kinks in the armor and make it two in a row over Magnolia Pambansang Manok Friday, Oct. 22 in Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Tropang Giga square off with the Hotshots at 6 p.m. as they aim to build on a dominant performance in the best-of-seven championship series opener that resulted in an 88-70 rout last Wednesday.
Coach Chot Reyes has urged his players to be a better version of themselves despite the manner of how they beat Magnolia.
Rookie guard Mikey Williams, who erupted for 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting after a seesaw shooting clip in the semifinal series win over San Miguel Beer, had a more detailed explanation as to how TNT can play better.
“I definitely feel like we gotta clean up some things on defense, and definitely, we gotta figure out a way to get on the boards more. If we limit the offensive boards for them, I feel like we’ll put ourselves in a good position to win a game,” he said.
“But if we clean up those things, I think we’ll be fine. So we just gotta get back to the drawing board and gotta figure out a way to get that done.”
The rookie guard along with RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Poy Erram, Jayson Castro, Kib Montalbo and Ryan Reyes did their share in the Game 1 triumph, something the Tropang Giga would like to happen again.
Perhaps the biggest question mark for TNT is whether veteran Kelly Williams will be available for the match after hurting his back while going for an uncontested dunk in the third quarter.
Magnolia is also dealing with injuries after Ian Sangalang was limited to just 10 minutes in Game 1 due to back spasms.
Aside from Sangalang’s condition, the Hotshots will need to improve a lot of things on both ends.
First, Magnolia is eager to avoid a start similar to Game 1 when TNT raced to a 20-2 lead. Second, coach Chito Victolero and company look to figure out ways to avoid a PBA Finals record 28-percent shooting and a conference-high 28 turnovers.
A more consistent showing from Calvin Abueva, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon could be a good help for the Hotshots in their quest to tie the series.