TNT eyes quick bounce back vs Magnolia

TNT eyes a quick bounce back when it figures in a titanic clash against Magnolia in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Friday, Feb. 3.

Jalen Hudson hopes TNT can finish games much stronger following its collapse against NLEX. (PBA Images)

Still licking their wounds from their first loss in the conference just two nights ago, the Tropang Giga hope to immediately get back on track against the Hotshots who are equally determined to also notch their first win in the 5:45 p.m encounter.

The mouth-watering duel between the two perennial contenders will also come after an interesting battle between the rousing San Miguel Beer and the rising Terrafirma in the first game at 3 p.m.

TNT is coming off a tough 110-108 loss at the hands of NLEX – a game that was supposed to be in the bag already for the Tropang Giga if not for a fourth quarter collapse that allowed the Road Warriors to complete a comeback from 15 points down.

Jalen Hudson continued to provide big numbers for TNT with 39 points, 10 rebounds and five assists but it was his supporting cast who were lacking in the loss. Outside RR Pogoy who finished with 21 points, Glenn Khobuntin and Jayson Castro were the only other double-digit scorers with 10 each.

Mikey Williams, who played for 34 minutes, was limited to a measly two points – something that head coach Jojo Lastimosa hopes to avoid especially against the Hotshots who are known for their pesky defense particularly in the backcourt with Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Rome Dela Rosa anchoring it.

The Magnolia’s defense though seemed to have yet to develop its fangs after the break after failing to stop Converge’s run-and-gun offense in its 111-109 loss in debut.

Despite the loss, it was an encouraging start for Magnolia with import Eric McCree showing his wares with 38 points and 16 rebounds while Paul Lee provided support with 21 points although it will need more from the rest of the team if they wish to finally score their first win in the season-ending conference.

Meanwhile in the opening game, the streaking San Miguel is looking to give Terrafirma a quick reality check after it finally notched its first win of the conference against Meralco, 96-88 last Saturday, Jan. 28.

Jordan Williams and Juami Tiongson provided a strong one-two punch for the Dyip with 29 and 30 points respectively but obviously will need more from the rest of the squad especially going up against a loaded SMB which beat Phoenix and Blackwater by an average winning margin of 20 points.

June Mar Fajardo is back to his usual dominant form while CJ Perez, Jericho Cruz and import Cameron Clark have all played big so far for the Beermen.