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HomeSportAfter finding quarters seat, Reyes wants TNT ready for ROS

After finding quarters seat, Reyes wants TNT ready for ROS

Kelly Williams (with ball) provided TNT with a lot of veteran firepower. —PBA IMAGES

Kelly Williams (with ball) provided TNT with a lot of veteran firepower. —PBA IMAGES

Coach Chot Reyes finally saw TNT play to his liking Sunday, resulting in a safer spot in the quarterfinals of the PBA Philippine Cup.

But Reyes hopes that the Tropang Giga, who posted a 98-93 win over the Magnolia Hotshots at Ninoy Aquino Stadium, can do better than what they had done throughout a challenging elimination round when they face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in a best-of-three series.

“I think Rain or Shine, outside of San Miguel, is the hottest team in the league,” Reyes said, pointing out the customary Elasto Painters form of bucking winless starts for the second straight conference.

TNT prevailed over Magnolia to clinch the No. 4 seed in the playoffs and arranged a series with No. 5 Rain or Shine. The two teams share identical 6-5 (win-loss) records with No. 3 Meralco and No. 6 NLEX, which edged past Barangay Ginebra, 76-72, in the nightcap.

READ: PBA: Chot Reyes lauds TNT for stepping up in do-or-die game

NLEX’s triumph relegated Magnolia, which also ended up at 6-5, at No. 7 and a twice-to-win predicament against Ginebra.

Terrafirma and NorthPort, both at 5-6, will meet in a playoff on Wednesday at Ninoy Aquino for the last quarters berth.

The Tropang Giga still remember how difficult it was defeating the Elasto Painters in the eliminations, gutting out a 108-107 win in late-February at Ynares Center in Antipolo City behind Calvin Oftana’s late heroics and their opponents’ free throw woes.

Strong performance

It was the first of four straight defeats by Rain or Shine to begin the conference, before it racked up six wins out of the next seven behind a strong performance from all over its roster.

“[Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao] has been playing them at a high level,” Reyes said. “The difficult thing with Rain or Shine is that there’s not one guy to check on because everyone’s playing well.”

The main reason for Rain or Shine’s success is Beau Belga, who has embraced an increased role on offense to lead a squad that has also seen Andrei Caracut and Shaun Ildefonso, among others, doing well.

Then, there’s the problem of TNT having to face returning rookie center Keith Datu, who missed a few games due to an injury before returning against NLEX last Friday.

“To compete with them, we need to have everyone on board,” said Reyes, while also noting the importance of his two grizzled players to deliver.

Kelly Williams and Jayson Castro keyed TNT’s triumph over Magnolia despite dealing with nagging injuries.

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Williams’ 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists came even with back spasms hounding him while Castro, who had jumper’s knee and had hurt his wrist late against Magnolia, delivered in the second half for 18 points, four rebounds and seven assists. INQ

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