PBA: Top-seeded TNT braces for 'very tough' second half of conference

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2021 03:31 PM

TNT coach Chot Reyes gives instructions during a timeout. PBA Media Bureau.
TNT coach Chot Reyes gives instructions during a timeout. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- Though they are armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, the TNT Tropang GIGA remain wary as they wait to see who they will face in the playoffs.

TNT secured the top seed in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup after compiling a 10-1 record in the elimination round, which also assured them of the playoff bonus. The top two teams at the end of the eliminations will need to win just once in the quarterfinals in order to advance to the next round.

They are now in the midst of a week-long break while the remaining teams play out the rest of their schedules. As it stands, TNT may play Alaska, TerraFirma, Phoenix Super LPG, or defending champion Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals.

"We have to figure out how to stay sharp, because I know we're going to have a pretty long break now," Reyes said after they wrapped up their own elimination round schedule with a 103-85 rout of Alaska last week.

Despite a superb run in the elimination round, Reyes was quick to note that his team cannot let up as the playoffs are an entirely different beast.

Indeed, for Reyes, it will already be the "second half" of their season.

"I told the players, the first half of the season, it's only the first half that's done," he said. "We've won what, eight, nine games? And there's still the same amount of games that are ahead of us."

"In our minds, kakatapos pa lang ng first half. So, we now need to be prepared for a very, very tough second half," he added.

Throughout the week-long break, Reyes and the Tropang GIGA plan to work on areas that they want to "shore up," while also hoping that some of their players will return to full fitness. TNT had missed Glenn Khobuntin as well as Kib Montalbo due to minor knocks.

"There's still a lot more, there's still some lapses that we commit on defense. We're trying to consistently upgrade our defense, as well as our execution on offense," Reyes also said. 

"That's why for us, we want to focus on getting better. And, believe me, there are areas that we really focus on in our practice, in our viewing, that we feel we should get better if we're going to be able to compete and beat the big boys," he added.