May 29, 2024

PBA: TNT coach Chot Reyes lauds his wards' gallant stand despite injury woes in quarters loss to Rain or Shine

PBA: TNT coach Chot Reyes lauds his wards
What's next for Chot Reyes and TNT? | Photo (c) PBA

TNT coach Chot Reyes did not seem upset after his team crashed out of the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup quarterfinals at the hands of Rain or Shine on Wednesday, May 15.

The Tropang Giga took the head start in their best-of-three clash, 116-99, but could not capitalize as the Elasto Painters regained their footing and went on to turn the table against their foe in Games 2, 121-113, and 3, 110-109, en route to a spot in the semifinals.

“That’s sports, that’s basketball. You get yourself in a best-of-three, and, like I said, we’re playing the hottest team in the league,” Reyes told reporters after TNT bowed to Rain or Shine in their deciding joust at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium Wednesday, May 15.

[RELATED STORY: PBA: TNT coach Chot Reyes bares containing Beau Belga key in winning quarters opener vs. Rain or Shine]

 

The Elasto Painters rose from a 0-4 start to the conference, winning six of their last seven elimination matches to set up a playoff clash with the Tropang Giga.

The story line is nearly the same for TNT which also struggled early, losing thrice in its first six assignments. But after a rollercoaster of a conference that also saw the team riddled with injuries to key players, Reyes opted to focus on the positives.

[WATCH: PBA Game Highlights: Rain or Shine weathers TNT storm, arranges semis battle with San Miguel]

In Wednesday's match, in particular, the many-time PBA Coach of the Year noted the fight in his squad who stormed back from 20 points down and nearly stole the match from Rain or Shine.

But the Tropang Giga, already without Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser who sustained an ACL injury in Game 2 last Sunday, May 12, suffered another unfortunate loss mid-match as RR Pogoy, the team's third best scorer Wednesday, exited with 2:19 remaining in the game after suffering from cramps.

 

[ALSO READ: PBA: Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser suffers ACL injury, will sit out TNT's knockout Game 3 vs. ROS]

While Calvin Oftana spearheaded the counterassault and with veteran Kelly Williams rallying the crew with triple after triple in the last 27 seconds, TNT just did not have enough firepower and time to turn things around.

“I want to just give props to my players for really fighting. We’re down and out. We could have quit easily, but they came back. And we made a game out of it,” the veteran mentor said.

“But without some key players, then, losing Roger and even Jayson in the endgame, it’s just too much for us to overcome.”

[WATCH: PBA Player of the Game Highlights: Gian Mamuyac steals show as Rain or Shine thwarts TNT, reaches semis]

Reyes was not making excuses, though.

At the end of the day, he tipped his hat off to his counterpart, Rain or Shine chief tactician Yeng Guiao, and the Elasto Painters for getting the job done and advancing to the semifinals for the first time after five years.

“Credit to them... They’re really playing well. They’re a young team, very well put together, very well-balanced. It should be a good series against San Miguel,” Reyes said.

While this conference has raised more questions than provide answers for Reyes and Co., he said the staff will take a step back to assess their next steps heading into the offseason.

“Obviously, not only now, but even when we're struggling. But, for now, we need to just sit back, evaluate, take a step back, and really look at the team and think about what our plans are going to be moving forward,” said Reyes.