Chot Reyes was glad TNT bounced back from the heartbreaking debut loss against Magnolia but also most importantly setting their bid for redemption back on track after failing to defend the all-Filipino Cup crown.
The multi-titled mentor believed that more than the controversial 94-92 loss against Magnolia where Reyes was even slapped with a P50,000 fine following his endgame outburst, the Finals series loss against San Miguel was an even bigger heartbreak especially after already taking a 3-2 lead.
"A bigger heartbreak for us was our lost in the finals, that's the bigger heartbreak for us team but we had the long team discussion about it in our team building when we went on our training camp so hopefully we've got closure over that incident," said Reyes following TNT's 117-93 victory over NorthPort on Saturday, Oct. 8.
Reyes is also taking responsibility for the Tropang Giga’s collapse after missing three of the seven games in the Finals series. The concurrent Gilas program director and head coach missed Games 2 and 3 due to his national team duties while he was placed under health and safety protocol in the winner-take-all Game 7.
“You know the biggest responsibility was mine. I wasn't there for the team in three out of the seven games so we had a long talk about it. I thought it was important that we gain closure from that finals series,” he added.
Expectations were actually high for TNT since the acquisition of Calvin Oftana in an offseason trade with Blackwater and NLEX and Gilas naturalization candidate Cameron Oliver to add to an already potent crew of Mikey Williams, RR Pogoy, Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams and Poy Erram.
Injuries, however, hampered the team’s preparation for the Commissioner’s Cup as they even needed to invite TNT’s 3x3 players to join the team during their scrimmages. Even in their debut the team was without Mikey, Castro, Glenn Khobuntin, Raol Soyud and Ryan Reyes.
According to Reyes, they just need to make do with what they have right now and use their first few games to get themselves into the playing groove.
“And so this win, more than the last game. I mean we knew how strong Magnolia was. Even at full strength, it was a 50-50 proposition for us anyway. It's just very important for us to get back to playing, to playing the right way, the way that we've always wanted, with the kind of pace we wanted.”