By JONAS TERRADO
TNT coach Chot Reyes said there’s still more room for improvement even after ending its elimination round campaign of the PBA Philippine Cup with the league’s best record and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The Tropang Giga won 10 of 11 games to top the eliminations, but Reyes believes his team can still iron out kinks in their armor as they wait for the playoffs to begin.
“There are some areas that we want to shore up,” Reyes said after TNT’s 105-83 win over Alaska Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
“There’s still some lapses that we commit on defense. We’re trying to consistently improve our defense as well as our execution on offense. Those are the little things but that’s why we wanna focus on getting better.”
Those things are something Reyes and the team can improve, especially TNT is expected to face the big teams in its bid to win the PBA crown for the first time since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup.
Things could get tougher as early as the quarters since defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, which has been struggling throughout the campaign, could end up at No. 8 depending on the situation by the end of the elims.
The Tropang Giga could likely face SMB, Magnolia or both in succeeding rounds should they get past the quarters.
“Believe me, with the areas that we really focus on in practice, in our viewing that we feel we should get better if we’re going to be able to compete with the big boys,” Reyes said.
In Reyes’ first conference back, TNT dominated the field with rookie Mikey Williams leading the way with averages of 18.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals.
RR Pogoy, Poy Erram, Troy Rosario and the returning Kelly Williams were consistent, team captain Jayson Castro sacrificed some minutes and saw Kib Montalbo step up in his sophomore season.
Dave Marcelo, long-time TNT guard Ryan Reyes and Brian Heruela have also shown that they can step up despite playing second fiddle to TNT’s talented core.
Reyes, however, is hopeful that Glenn Khobubtin could get back in time for the playoffs after missing the last five games due to a knee injury.
“We’re missing Glenn Khobuntin and what he brings in that position, big time,” he said.