MANILA, Philippines – Given that NorthPort has played two games and will face a TNT team that will be without several of its key players at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, the team should be close to settling into life on the PBA On Tour.
Since Jayson Castro, Mikey Williams, Calvin Oftana, Roger Pogoy, and Kelly Williams were instrumental in the Katropa’s Governors’ Cup victory run in April, the team has decided to give them more time off.
Despite the fact that the former has been in charge of TNT’s sessions ever since the squad began practicing two weeks ago, coach Jojo Lastimosa would temporarily hand the reigns to assistant Sandy Arespacochaga.
The Katropa have recruited former San Beda players Clifford Jopia, Damie Cuntapay, Peter Alfaro, and JV Gallego to help cover some of their open player spots. All four of these players are vying for spots in the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.
TNT is prepared to try and see how its new additions would fit in, even though names like Poy Erram, Justin Chua, Kib Montalbo, Glenn Khobuntin, and Paul Varilla are lined up.
This window of opportunity, no matter how tiny, might be just what NorthPort needs to break through the victory column in the preseason.
The Batang Pier, who had some draft chances of their own, battled for the most part in their inaugural game and lost to Meralco by a score of 89–97 last week. On Saturday, they once more failed to get their footing as they fell to San Miguel Beer by a score of 75 to 87.
Coach Bonnie Tan of NorthPort is still optimistic that her team would eventually create chemistry and snap out of its slump despite those setbacks.
Following the SMB game, Tan commented, “We’re still a work in progress, and the struggles are still there.”
However, we are hoping that as they interact more, we will be able to establish the roles and become more comfortable with one another.