The TNT Tropang Giga is scheduled for a head-to-head game against the Meralco Bolts at 6:45 PM on November 7, 2020, live from the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The Tropang Giga on Friday was incredibly ice-cold against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings, shooting an abysmal 29.2 percent on its shots and making just 5-for-41 (12.2 percent) of its threes — numbers that were so far from the usual 44.6 percent and 13.3 triples the team made per game entering the contest.
Tropang Giga pillars in Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario struggled for practically all game long, with the latter missing all his 15 tries from the field. This eventually led to an 85-79 defeat to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
TNT fell to its second consecutive loss and now sits at no. 2 with a 6-3 card.
Jayson Castro’s 19 points and 5 boards and Poy Erram’s 17 and 10 were the only bright spots for a Tropang Giga team that put up horrendous numbers on the offensive end against Ginebra. Ray Parks scored 15 and grabbed 13 rebounds but shot just 4-for-14 shooting from the field, while Roger Pogoy also threw in 12 but needed 15 shots to get there.
Other TNT players were atrocious on offense as well. Simon Enciso scored three on 1-for-10 shooting, while Troy Rosario missed all 15 of his shots in 29 fruitless minutes against the Gin Kings.
Meanwhile, Meralco produced back-to-back wins in its first back-to-back assignments in the PBA bubble play restart.
From a tight halftime count, the Bolts broke away on a rip-roaring third quarter and warded off a determined chase by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the payoff period to hack out an 85-78 win.
Chris Newsome delivered 17 points, while Baser Amer played one of his best games in the bubble, contributing 14 points, six rebounds, and seven assists for the Bolts.
Despite the near collapse, Meralco coach Norman Black was satisfied with the overall performance of the club.
“We really talked about trying to come out strong in the third quarter. In some of the past games, that’s been one of our weakness, coming out of the dugout strong at halftime. I’m very, very happy with our defense. Our offense was clicking against their zone defense. In that third quarter, we were making our shots and executing very well. We were actually playing well in the second half up until the last five, six minutes of the game when things seemed to turn around. But under the circumstances, we are 5-3. Just happy to get the victory and move on,” said Black.
Returning strong from a weeklong breather, the Bolts, now with a 4-3 win-loss record, closed in on a playoff entry, with a solid chance at the Top Four and its reward of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Should Meralco carry its momentum over and win the third straight game, it would improve to 6-3, enough for it to officially enter the quarterfinals for only the first time since the 2014-15 edition, Black’s first conference with the Bolts.
On the other hand, TNT is sure to come out strong in a bid to snap out of their recent funk and resume their stalled drive for a Top Four slot, which carries with it a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round.