CURRENTLY perched at joint first in the standings in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup, the TNT KaTropa seek to seize solo tournament leadership in their marquee match today against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Holders of a 7-1 record, tied with the NLEX Road Warriors, the KaTropa shoot for win number eight in their 7 p.m. game that would put them on the driver’s seat anew and fortify their hold of a top-two spot in the elimination round of the season-ending PBA tournament.
TNT is coming off its first defeat of the tournament, dealt by NLEX, 126-113, on Oct. 25.
Import KJ McDaniels was in his solid all-around self anew in said game, finishing with 42 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and three steals, with Roger Pogoy adding 35 points himself.
Their efforts though were not enough to pull their team to the victory and keep their unblemished record intact as the Road Warriors continued to find ways to foil them all game long.
For today’s game, the KaTropa will bring in new ammo in newly acquired player Ray Parks Jr.
TNT got Mr. Parks from the Blackwater Elite last week in exchange for Don Trollano, Anthony Semerad and a future first-round pick.
While with the Elite, Mr. Parks averaged 20.1 points, five rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals in nine games in the Governors’ Cup.
He is expected to shore up the roster of TNT, which is currently missing the services of All-Star guard Jayson Castro because of injury.
Mr. Parks said he welcomes the deal that sent him to TNT, saying he looks forward to helping the team and learning from his veteran teammates.
Out to send the KaTropa to consecutive defeats, meanwhile, is Barangay Ginebra, itself coming off a loss in its previous game.
The Kings were at the raw end of a 101-77 shellacking against the Meralco Bolts on Nov. 3.
Justin Brownlee was held down to 18 markers, seven boards and three assists, down from his usual stellar triple-double numbers.
LA Tenorio was the other Kings player in double digits in scoring with 12 points.
A win by Barangay Ginebra over TNT earns for the team a spot in the next round of the tournament.
Also playing today at 4:30 p.m. are Meralco (6-2) and Columbian Dyip (4-5).
The Bolts are on a three-game winning streak, which has greatly helped their push for a top-four finish in the eliminations and a good shot at the twice-to-beat incentive that goes with in the quarterfinals.
Columbian, for its part, lost in its last game but is still in the mix for a spot in the next phase of the tournament.