MANILA, Philippines -- While TNT KaTropa may have fallen short of its championship aspirations in the previous PBA season, team consultant Tab Baldwin is proud of how the team progressed through the conferences.
TNT made it to the playoffs in each of the three conferences, losing in the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup before suffering a heartbreaking loss in the finals of the Commissioner's Cup to San Miguel Beer, where they lost in six games despite having powerful import Terrence Jones. They bowed out in the semifinals of the Governors' Cup to the Meralco Bolts.
"It's still a work in progress," Baldwin told Nikko Ramos in the Call to Arms podcast about the KaTropa.
He expressed his gratitude to the team's management for giving active consultant Mark Dickel the time that he needed to "reconstruct everything" about the team. Under Dickel, TNT took a new look, prioritizing speed, spacing, and shooting. They were at their best in the Commissioner's Cup, when they went 10-1 in the elimination round before falling just short in the finals.
Baldwin believes that Dickel's vision of a "younger, faster, more defense-oriented" TNT squad will pose a different problem for the rest of the league.
"(We're) not a grind-it-out (team) and try and bang with June Mar (Fajardo), but we're gonna run around you, we're gonna run over you, we're gonna run through you. But we're gonna run," he said.
While they may have not won a championship last season, Baldwin has high hopes for their future.
"We're excited about this opportunity. We're excited about this team," he said.
"We don't know if this team is gonna come together in the next conference, but we really believe that in the near future, this is gonna be a very fun team to play for, a fun team to watch -- and a miserable team to have to play against," Baldwin guaranteed.
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