These things will bring the TNT KaTropa to the semifinals
Glen Rice Jr. only made 8 of his 28 attempts last Wednesday. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Many thought that the Talk N Text KaTropa would put an end to the season of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters when they opened their quarterfinals match-up last Wednesday. Unfortunately, many were disappointed when the Elasto Painters were able to weather away from a furious 4th quarter comeback by TNT as they successfully pulled a 106-102 victory which is the reason they will need to play one more time tonight to decide who between them will face the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the semifinals.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. We all know that the players of Coach Nash Racela are capable of beating any team regardless if they have the twice-to-beat-advantage or not. Fortunately for TNT, finishing in the Top 4 at the end of the elimination round gives them another chance to make things right and to be able to move on to the next level, there are things that they need to do to avoid another embarrassing loss and below are those things:
Bench must produce!
If we're going to look back at last Wednesday's game, one of the reasons why TNT ran out of gas especially during their failed 4th quarter comeback was the mere fact that there was no significant production that came out from the bench players of TNT who combined to finished with 9 points which a far cry to the 29 points of the bench of ROS.
If TNT wishes to get rid of the Elasto Painters, they will need everyone on board and they cannot simply rely on the heroics of Jayson Castro especially during clutch situations. For one, Roger Pogoy must become the player who helped his team beat Ginebra in the final game of the elimination round. In their game last Wednesday, Pogoy only had 7 points and 6 fouls. If anything, this conference has proven what Pogoy can do and he will need to bring his A+ game come tonight. And so is the rest of the bench players of TNT.
Glen Rice Jr. must score more
The defense of Coach Caloy Garcia and his wards had successfully limited Glen Rice Jr.'s offensive output to only 19 points while making only 8 of his 28 attempts including just 1 of 12 three-point attempts. Coming into tonight's game, Nash Racela knows that for his team to have a chance against the Elasto Painters, he must tell his import to manage his attempts and only take the shots that have a higher chance of going into the basket because otherwise, a missed shot is a missed opportunity for the rest of the team. Last Wednesday's game saw Rice Jr. waste 20 scoring opportunities for his team. He doesn't only need to score more for TNT to win the game. He needs to slow things down on offense.
Make it rain
As ugly as it sounds, TNT only made 9 of 35 shots from rainbow country, a horrible 25% shooting from that area. And that is not the kind of shooting percentage you can expect from a TNT team that is loaded with shooters. In contrast, Rain or Shine made it rain from deep the entire game and they continuously bombed away and finished the game, making 16 out of 42 from deep.
If anything, TNT has been known, loved and even hated by opposing teams for their ability to make it rain with threes and if they can go back to that habit of making more threes like nothing else happened, TNT would be a very scary team to play against and Ginebra would better watch out.