MANILA, Philippines -- Roger Pogoy has been a major factor in TNT's superb start to the conference, with the KaTropa currently toting a 6-1 record to top the standings of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Much has been said about TNT's prolific import, former Houston Rocket Terrence Jones, who is putting up 33.8 points and 15.7 rebounds per game. But Pogoy has been by far their most impressive local player, averaging 17.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, while shooting a superb 44% from beyond the arc.
His best game of the conference so far came against Barangay Ginebra last Wednesday, when he exploded for a career-best 38 points while draining 10 of his 18 attempts from beyond the arc.
Pogoy's fervent hope now is that his explosive performances in the PBA will translate to the international level, as he and the rest of the Gilas Pilipinas pool begin to prepare for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup.
"'Yun talaga ang pinagpe-pray ko saka tina-trabaho ko, na kung ano 'yung pinapakita ko sa PBA, sana madala ko rin sa Gilas. Kasi 'yun nga, importante, para sa bayan talaga. Para ma-proud naman 'yung mga kababayan natin," he said.
The 27-year-old Pogoy did not shoot all that well during the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers, as he connected on just 17.4% of his 3-pointers over seven games. The guard averaged just 6.3 points per game for Gilas in the qualifiers.
His performances for TNT has caught the eye of fans, however, and many have come to expect that Pogoy will be similarly on target for the national team when they play in the World Cup in August.
"Sa totoo lang, malaking pressure 'yun para sa akin," Pogoy said of the mounting expectations for him. "Kasi 'yun nga, parang pinag-usapan na ng mga tao na 'yun nga, shooter daw ako."
"Pero sige, panindigan ko, trabahuhin ko. Ipagdasal ko na gagawin ko para sa bayan," he vowed.
It is also possible that Pogoy will have to adjust to the absence of veteran point guard Jayson Castro, his teammate in TNT who is contemplating a break from the national team.
Pogoy has given Castro plenty of credit for his improvement, as "The Blur" has been the one who boosted his confidence and reminded him to play fearlessly. While Pogoy admits that playing without Castro will be a blow to the team, he also feels that he is ready to show what he has learned from the crafty guard.
"Yes, oo, ready na ako. Hindi ko makakalimutan talaga 'yung palaging pinapayo ni Kuya Jayson sa akin," said Pogoy.
"Every game naman, siya talaga nagsasabi sa akin kung ano gagawin ko, nagbibigay ng kumpyansa sa akin si Kuya Jayson. Siguro 'pag wala siya, ano naman ako, matured na ako sa game, siguro madala ko na 'yun," he added.
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