May 24, 2024

'Best two-way player’ RR Pogoy and 'bigger Pogoy' Calvin Oftana lead TNT to victory


The TNT Tropang Giga were looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss, and RR Pogoy and Calvin Oftana made sure they did.

Pogoy and Oftana were on-point against the Magnolia Hotshots Friday night, taking turns, along with Mikey Williams, in leading the Tropang Giga to a big win over Magnolia, 93-85. Pogoy poured in a game-high 20 points on top of 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, while Oftana finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block.

Oftana, back after missing the Tropang Giga’s last game, scored 9 of his 14 in the second quarter to help the prolific Williams turn an 18-22 deficit after one into a 52-39 lead at the half. Pogoy then took over after the break, pouring in 14 of his 20 markers in the game’s final 24 minutes and making all the big plays—on offense and on defense—down the stretch to stymie the Hotshots’ last-ditch comeback.

Pogoy, in fact, made arguably the game’s biggest play with TNT hanging on to an 83-81 lead: picking the pocket of Magnolia import Eric McCree in transition at the 4:37 mark of the fourth, just as McCree was about to go up for the game-tying lay-in. The Gilas mainstay then added two freebies, an assist, and a turnaround jumper in traffic to seal the Tropang Giga’s second win in the PBA Governor’s Cup.

The splendid showing of Oftana and Pogoy was not lost on TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa, who was effusive in his praise of the former FEU Tamaraw.

“Roger is probably the best two-way player in the league,” said Lastimosa post-game. “Sinasabi lang niya yan, ‘depensa, ‘depensa,’ but his offense is humming right now…”

 Lastimosa was equally high on Oftana, whom he said could have helped avert the Tropang Giga’s collapse against the NLEX Road Warriors.

“Calvin was a big help. You could see the difference with Calvin there, his rebounding, his defense. He’s actually a bigger version of Roger," said Lastimosa of Oftana.

That’s lofty praise for the two Gilas boys, but all of it appears to be well deserved—especially in this game.