Coach Jojo Lastimosa believes the presence of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will help galvanize a TNT Tropang Giga squad that will head to the opener of the East Asia Super League (EASL) campaign against Japan’s Chiba Jets shorthanded and far from its best form.
“Having Quincy and Rondae doesn’t mean it’s gonna be easy, but it gives us confidence that we have imports who are real pros and gamers,” Lastimosa told the Inquirer on the eve of the Tropang Giga’s tussle with the B.League side at Funabashi Arena.The Quincy being referred is Quincy Miller, the former Converge reinforcement tapped as TNT’s second foreign player that would lessen Hollis-Jefferson responsibilities while also providing more help for a team that won’t be having some of top local players.
Poy Erram is recovering from knee surgery, while RR Pogoy is dealing with an undisclosed health condition that forced him to skip Gilas Pilipinas’ successful run to the gold in the Hangzhou Asian Games.Calvin Oftana is also out, not only to recharge his batteries but to reap the fruits of his labor after playing an important part in Gilas’ unlikely run to the top of the medal podium.
And perhaps the biggest name missing in Japan is Mikey Williams, the hot-shooting guard who carried TNT over Barangay Ginebra in last season’s PBA Governors’ Cup finals where he had a performance to remember in the title-clinching Game 6.
“No expectations other than we play as hard as we can,” said Lastimosa. “We are aware we are not complete and not totally in shape yet, but the guys who are here are gonna fight.” INQ