By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
ONE of the more solid imports in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup, Terrence Jones tries to lead the TNT KaTropa to their third straight win when they take on the defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings today in an Independence Day double-header at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Set for 7 p.m., the KaTropa (4-1), on the lead of former National Basketball Association campaigner Jones (34.2 ppg, 15.6 rpg, 4.8 apg, 2.2 bpg and 1.8 spg), seek to sustain their current steady form and fortify their position in the half of the standings against the Kings (2-2) who are out to bounce back after absorbing a defeat in their last game.
Completing today’s offering is the clash between the Northport Batang Pier (4-1) and the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (0-1) in the opener at 4:30 p.m.
The most recent of the victories of TNT came on June 8 against the San Miguel Beermen, 110-97.
Mr. Jones, who had stops in Houston, New Orleans and Milwaukee in seven years in the NBA, was in his all-around self, finishing with 30 points, 18 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and two steals to lead TNT to a dominant showing against the Beermen.
Troy Rosario had 17 points in the win while Roger Pogoy ended up with 15.
Don Trollano and Anthony Semerad were also in double figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively, with Jayson Castro ending up with a near triple-double of nine points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.
“It was a team effort,” was how Mr. Jones described their win over San Miguel after.
Taking on the defending champions and crowd favorites Kings for the first time, Mr. Jones said he is looking forward to the challenge and seeing a lot of people for the game.
Barangay Ginebra, for its part, tries to bounce back after seeing its two-game win ascent halted in its last game against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 104-81.
Import Justin Brownlee was stellar anew for the Kings with 30 points, 17 rebounds and five steals in the contest but just could not tow his team to the victory especially down the stretch where the Elasto Painters pulled away for the victory.
Japeth Aguilar had 17 points of his own for Barangay Ginebra but after him no other Kings scored in double figures.
Recognizing that they let one go, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone said they hope to play better from end to end in their next game.
Meanwhile in the first game, Northport shoots for back-to-back wins when it collides with Magnolia.
The Batang Pier returned to winning in a big way in their last game, defeating the Beermen, 121-88.
It was a total team effort for Northport in the win with seven players scoring in twin digits led by the 25 points of rookie Robert Bolick.
Prior to the win, the team was dealt its first loss that effectively stopped its three-game winning streak.
Magnolia plays only its second game in the tournament and hopes to get a better outing from import John Fields who only had 12 points and six rebounds in their first game, a loss to the Alaska Aces, 103-80.