MANILA, Philippines – On Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo, TNT Tropang Giga and Converge played in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. They will be trying to avoid an early slump.
In the PBA Season 48, both the Tropang Giga and the FiberXers lost their first contests. Coach Jojo Lastimosa and his team lost 110 to 102 to the Magnolia Hotshots on Sunday, while coach Aldin Ayo and his chargers were destroyed 103 to 84 on Wednesday by the highly motivated Blackwater team.
The elimination phase is a brief one-round robin, and no team wants to fall behind early in the playoff race.
Eighteen teams move on to the quarterfinals, where the top four will have a twice-to-beat advantage.
Though their lineup was severely depleted—they were without Mikey Williams, RR Pogoy, Poy Eram, Justin Chua, Kib Montalbo, and rookie acquisition Henry Galinato—Lastimosa still felt good about their fighting performance despite losing to the Hotshots.
It turned out that the Tropa made a strong impression by trailing the Hotshots the entire game, giving Lastimosa hope that their lineup would be sufficient to compete in the tournament.
He acknowledges, however, that in order for them to compete and stand a chance of winning, everyone must contribute.
Calvin Oftana (28 markers with 7-of-13 shots from beyond the arc) and Quincy Miller (37 points, 14 rebounds, and four steals) gave the Tropa a lot of momentum in their season opener.
In their inaugural matchup, the FiberXers struggled to find their shooting rhythm, managing to convert only 33 percent of their attempts from the field. The foul line proved to be a challenge as well, as they made only half of their sixteen free throw attempts.
Despite putting up a commendable performance with 18 rebounds and three assists, import Thomas Vadonavich faced difficulties at the free-throw line, missing five attempts and concluding the game with 20 points.
The upcoming game will present an even greater challenge for Vadonavich as he faces off against Miller. Miller, having previously played with Converge in the PBA, made a significant impact, leading to TNT signing him for the Tropang Giga’s EASL campaign alongside Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Notably, Miller has been granted permission by Converge to represent TNT in this PBA tournament, highlighting the cooperative spirit between the two teams.
Now, it’s Miller that the FiberXers must contend with, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the matchup. The dynamics of players moving between teams and the generous collaboration between Converge and TNT bring an interesting subplot to the game, setting the stage for an exciting and closely watched contest.