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TNT, SMB face lowly foes in PBA Governors’ Cup

Games Wednesday(MOA Arena)3 p.m. — Blackwater vs TNT5:45 p.m. — NorthPort vs San Miguel

SUCCESSFUL in its first six games with an explosive wingman, co-leader TNT aims for greater heights in the PBA Governors’ Cup with an inside threat and defensive presence moving forward.

The Tropang Giga, recognizing the need to beef up the interior, brought in former NBA player Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (RHJ) to take over from Jalen Hudson, who led the PLDT franchise to a 5-1 start.

Mr. Hollis-Jefferson, the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft who saw action for Brooklyn, Toronto and Portland, is expected to hit the ground running today as TNT shoots for its fourth straight versus skidding Blackwater (1-5) at the MOA Arena.

“We expect RHJ to improve our defense all over because of his size and length,” Tropang Giga coach Jojo Lastimosa said of Mr. Hollis-Jefferson, who makes his PBA debut at 3 p.m. “He’s more of an all sound game.”

Mr. Hudson, who had glowing averages of 33.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists, slid to TNT’s injured/reserve list.

The Bossing are also bannered by a high-caliber reinforcement in Troy Williams, who’s good for 47.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in his two outings. However, Mr. Williams failed to bring the team out of its skid, currently running at four games.

Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer or SMB (5-1), another joint pacesetter, seeks a quick return to winning against victory-starved NorthPort in the 5:45 p.m. main game.

The Beermen are reeling from their first loss of the tournament, a 107-103 at the hands of fellow leader Converge last Saturday, and are poised to vent their ire on the only winless side of the tournament.

SMB coach Jorge Gallent after their failure to go 6-0. “We just have to bounce back from that loss. Important dito, we’re still tied for No. 1. We just have to go up again.”

To do this, Mr. Gallent said it’s imperative for the Beermen to do better defensively.

“We committed a lot of fouls and gave up 21 free throws in the fourth quarter so we have to learn from that and defend better,” he said.

Among the victims of that fouling spree was six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who headed to the exits with about three minutes left. It was the first time for Mr. Fajardo to foul out since April 2019 in the opener of the Philippine Cup semifinals against Phoenix Super LPG. — Olmin Leyba

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