Due to higher Bay Area and playoffs-chasing TNT square off against each other on Wednesday in a titanic duel at the PhilSports Arena that is crucial to their respective quests for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Dragons, who are now in first place after their victory against Magnolia last Saturday by a score of 95-89, want to end the preliminary round with a record of 10-2 to assure that they will receive a Top 2 seeding and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The injury-plagued Tropang Giga, who fell to ninth place after an 89-85 loss to Barangay Ginebra with an all-Filipino crew last Sunday, set out to improve on their 4-6 record and make it back to the Magic 8 with new reinforcement Matt Mobley in tow.
The coach of the Bay Area team, Brian Goorjian, referred to the match as “an significant game for both of us and for them.”
The matchup at three o’clock will feature a duel between two national coaches, Goorjian of Australia and Chot Reyes of TNT and Gilas Pilipinas. Both of these coaches have competed against one another in the past as national coaches, most notably in the 1990s and late 2000s.
Goorjian shared his thoughts, saying, “(Reyes is) a man I respect and I like, and I know his team’s going to be tough and prepared.”
In their attempt to salvage this campaign, the Tropang Giga are keeping their fingers crossed that their injuries would heal quickly.
Mobley, a seasoned player who has competed in various European leagues, was called in by TNT because Cameron Oliver suffered a sprained knee and would be out of action for anywhere from two weeks to a month as a result.
Mobley, who played in Germany, France, Turkey, and Belgium, is undersized for the mid-season tournament at his listed height of 6-foot-4. He participated in all of these countries.
“We anticipate that Matt will be the architect of our attack and the source of its vitality. Even if he is not a large player who can dominate inside, we are hopeful that (with Mobley) we will be able to make our squad speedier “said team manager Jojo Lastimosa.
The Tropang Giga are also keeping their fingers crossed for veteran playmaker Jayson Castro, who was forced to walk out of the game against Ginebra with an ankle injury in the third quarter.
“Jayson is day-to-day. Although it is not as painful as we feared it would be, it is nonetheless uncomfortable “explained Lastimosa.
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