By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
OUTLASTED in the opener of the best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals series, the TNT Tropang Giga look to redeem themselves and level the affair in Game Two on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.
In the thick of the fight for much of Game One on Sunday, TNT lost some step down the stretch which proved to be costly as they slumped to the 100-94 loss in overtime.
Ray Parks Jr. led the way for the Tropang Giga, finishing with 20 points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists before fouling out late in the extra period.
Unfortunately for TNT, Mr. Parks is considered “doubtful” for Game Two after suffering a recurrence of a left calf strain.
Roger Pogoy finished with 19 points and six boards in the series-opener while Jayson Castro had 12 points and five assists and Poy Erram a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
In the expected absence of Mr. Parks, TNT is hopeful forward Troy Rosario gets to squeeze out of his funk and step up.
A former National University standout and a member of the school’s champion University Athletic Association of the Philippines team in 2014, Mr. Rosario has been struggling of late, beginning with their semifinal clash with the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters.
In Game One of the finals, Mr. Rosario finished with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and a block in 27 minutes on the floor.
Providing a valuable boost, however, is veteran Jay Washington, who had 14 points last time around, including back-to-back triples late in the fourth period that kept TNT in the game.
TNT is back in the finals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) All-Filipino tournament after seven years.
The last time the Tropang Giga made it to the finals of the Philippine Cup, they were still being coached by Norman Black and went on to win the championship, sweeping the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 4-0.
But TNT was a finalist in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup, losing to the San Miguel Beermen in six games.
Barangay Ginebra, for its part, has not won the Philippine Cup title since the 2006-07 season. Apart from trying to end the drought, the Kings are also looking to win back-to-back league titles in addition to the Governors’ Cup championship they won previously.