MANILA, Philippines -- Roger Pogoy got a boost of confidence just in time for the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs as he broke out of his shooting slump in their final elimination round game on Saturday.
Pogoy has been shooting below 40% in TNT's last five games, though the Tropang GIGA still went 4-1 in that span. But against the Alaska Aces, Pogoy knocked down seven of his 13 shots for a game-high 18 points, on top of four rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
The Tropang GIGA won comfortably, 103-85, to finish the elimination round with a 10-1 win-loss record. They enter the quarterfinals as the top seed and will have a twice-to-beat advantage against the No. 8 team.
"Siguro, ito ang pinaka magandang laro ko," said Pogoy, who made three of his six three-point attempts as TNT knocked down 18 triples in the game.
"Tapos 'yun nga, hindi ako maka-shoot, nag-struggle ako. But salamat ako kay Coach Chot (Reyes) na may tiwala pa rin siya sa akin. Tsaka kailangan ko rin 'to, for the upcoming playoffs," he added.
Aside from an 83-67 loss to San Miguel Beer, TNT had been dominant in the elimination round of the All-Filipino Conference. They racked up win after win even with Pogoy struggling to find his mark from the field, as he shot only 35% entering their game against Alaska.
In their previous contest, Pogoy slumped to a one-for-seven night in a 102-92 win over the NorthPort Batang Pier.
His breakout game against Alaska was thus much-needed for Pogoy.
"Ang laking kumpyansa 'to sa akin. Kasi 'yun nga, next week magp-playoffs na. So kailangan talaga, hindi ako ma-down. Kumpyansa ako pagdating ng playoffs," he said.
The Tropang GIGA will now get a week off as the rest of the elimination round plays out. They are still waiting for their quarterfinals opponent, with Alaska, Barangay Ginebra, Phoenix Super LPG, and TerraFirma all still in contention for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Pogoy assures that the week off will not take away from their conditioning and sharpness, as they enter the playoffs as the prohibitive favorites to win the conference.
"It's up to the coaches na kung ano gagawin nila for this week. Basta kami, focused lang kami at susunod lang kami kung anong ipapagawa nila," he said.