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Jolas expects TNT to be in ‘better shape’ in rematch with Chiba

Playing undermanned is not an excuse for TNT to be beaten black and blue in any tournament, as far as coach Jojo Lastimosa is concerned.

The Tropang Giga got their behinds kicked by the Chiba Jets, 93-75, in the opening night of the 2023-24 East Asia Super League Season 2 home-and-away tournament on Wednesday, October 11, in Chiba, Japan.

TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa PBA IMAGE

The Jets, who placed second in the Japan B.League last season, peppered the Tropang Giga with 16 three-point bombs.

Japanese national player Ren Kanichika was red-hot from downtown, firing 18 points on six triples. American import DJ Stephens added 19 points, while going 4-of-9 from three-point territory.

“That was our main talking point in pre-game that we need to defend the three well,” Lastimosa told the Manila Times, whose team trailed by one, 45-44, at the halftime break.

“We did in the first half generally (well), but we just ran out of gas.”

The Tropang Giga flew to Japan without injured big men Poy Erram and Justin Chua, Roger Pogoy (health reasons), Calvin Oftana (vacation after Gilas Pilipinas stint) and Mikey Williams (extended break).

“It was my concern at the half on how we can sustain our energy knowing we are still trying to get into shape,” said Lastimosa.

TNT import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ran out of steam as well after playing non-stop since August when he first suited up for Jordan as its naturalized player in the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Manila and led the team to a silver medal finish behind Gilas Pilipinas in the 19th Asian Games last week in Hangzhou, China.

“Rondae played straight out of the Asiad finals and obviously we are still missing a bunch of guys. We will be in much better shape three weeks from now,” said the TNT coach, who also serves as the team manager.

The 28-year-old Hollis-Jefferson finished with 15 points on a mediocre 9-of-28 shooting against the Jets.

Quincy Miller, TNT's second reinforcement, led the team with 22 points.

TNT will have a chance to get back at Chiba when hosts the Japanese team on November 1 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

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Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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