TNT begins a rigorous stretch before some players shift their focus on the FIBA World Cup Asian Cup Qualifiers when it takes on Magnolia Pambansang Manok Friday, Feb. 11 in the resumption of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Giga take on the Hotshots at 6 p.m. in their first meeting since winning the Philippine Cup Finals in five games last October at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
But the PBA campaign is just one of many worries coach Chot Reyes in the next few weeks after being brought back to call the shots for Gilas in the upcoming FIBA window.
For Reyes, he would rather urge his players to take things step-by-step rather, first by trying to improve the Tropang Giga’s 2-2 record in the season-ending conference which went on hold for 47 days due to last month’s COVID-19 surge.
Troy Rosario and Kib Montalbo are expected to see action after recovering from their injuries while TNT is confident import Aaron Fuller can finally deliver the needed contributions after struggling in his debut last Dec. 26.
Mikey Williams, Jayson Castro and Poy Erram are expected to play key roles while Matt Ganuelas-Rosser is set for his TNT comeback after leaving Terrafirma as an unrestricted free agent.
On the other side, Magnolia will see to stay unbeaten after winning its first three games, including a Christmas Day rout of Ginebra.
Import Mike Harris has been one of the primary reasons for the Hotshots’ start and will be tasked to provide trouble on TNT, particularly down low.
Calvin Abueva, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon will look to give Magnolia another win despite the long layoff.
Meralco and NLEX kick off the resumption at 3 p.m. as the two sides aim to stay among the top teams in the eliminations.
The Bolts won their first two games of the conference behind import Tony Bishop while the Road Warriors are hungry to redeem themselves after a 4-0 start was stopped by the Fuel Masters last Christmas.
Chris Banchero will make his Meralco debut after leaving Phoenix to sign as an unrestricted free agent. His addition make up for the sour feeling of seeing John Pinto leave for Ginebra in early-January.