PBA: Second half awakening key in TNT’s first win

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TNT’s Roger Pogoy leads Tropang Giga’s second half attack. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—The TNT Tropang Giga came out of the locker room at halftime with guns blazing to help them open the PBA Governors’ Cup on a winning note on Wednesday.

Coach Jojo Lastimosa credited the second-half adjustments on both ends in helping Tropang Giga recover from a tightly-contested first half to pull away from the gritty Fuel Masters for the 123-119 win at Araneta Coliseum.

“What happened was, I think even during our last conference, our defense was suffering. We were giving out too many points and it did happen in the first half. We looked like a layup line,” the Lastimosa, who took over Chot Reyes’ position.

“We played so much better in the second half. I think more than anything it was not because of our defensive game but it was more of us hitting big shots than the other side,” he added.

At the intermission, the score was knotted up at 60 before TNT unloaded big on offense. RR Pogoy, who finished with 21 points, scored 15 in the latter part of the game, including crucial buckets in the fourth quarter.

Calvin Oftana, who scored only three markers in the opening quarters, went on to finish with 17.

Import Jalen Hudson, however, was consistent in the entirety of the match, tallying 34 points and 10 rebounds in his Governors’ Cup debut. But he credited the role players of the team for stepping up when it mattered the most.

“We had some guys come off the bench who gave really good energy. Starting off, we kind of got to a slow start but you don’t want your offense to dictate your defense. If we start bad [again], we’d dig ourselves in a hole,” Hudson said.

Other than the ball rotations and second half awakening, Hudson said another big factor in the win was the coaching staff’s decision-making in the dying minutes of the game.

“I thought the coaching down the stretch was very important and I thought we really had some key plays to win the game.”

TNT will travel to Antipolo for their second conference game against a slow-starting Rain or Shine squad, which opened the tournament with a 105-87 loss against Meralco on Sunday.

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