The TNT Tropang Giga may have been firing on all cylinders in their Game 2 win against Magnolia in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup finals, but head coach Chot Reyes stressed it was their defense that paid the dividends in the game.
TNT shot 46-percent from the field and Reyes’ wards drained 17 of their 40 three-point attempts — one triple away from tying the PBA record for most made threes in a finals game.
San Miguel currently holds that record after the team fired 18 threes against, coincidentally, TNT in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup.
But with enough experience to know that the fiery offense wasn’t likely to last the entire game, it was the Tropang Giga’s defense that came up big late as they grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
“Execution and selflessness and the willingness of our players to make the extra passes and find the open guy,” Reyes said when asked what led to their blazing 66-50 halftime lead.
“That’s what led to the hot shooting in the first half. We talked about it at halftime [because] we knew it’s not going to last and we still need to rely on our defense to win the game and that’s what happened.”
The Tropang Giga collected five blocks and four steals and limited the Hotshots to just 39-percent from the field. TNT, last year’s runner-up, allowed Magnolia to take 86 field goal attempts but the defense held them off to only 34 made baskets.
TNT was also able to draw 27 fouls from Magnolia and made 22 shots from the charity stripes from those.
Rookie Mikey Williams was a huge part of the win, carving out 28 points on an impressive 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc, to go along with nine rebounds, six assists, and a steal
Williams said he had to credit his veteran teammates Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy, both of whom are reliable shotmakers for the team, for giving him the chance to create his points.
“I commend those guys. They’re great people to learn from, they’ve been in this situation before and they’re telling me to just stay aggressive and just keep sticking with it,” he said.
“I’m just glad we can pull off the win. We’re on to Game 3 and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
TNT will vie for a 3-0 edge in Game 3 on Sunday.\
—JMB, GMA News
This article Hot-shooting TNT says defense the key in Game 2 win over struggling Magnolia was originally published in GMA News Online.Internet Explorer Channel Network