MANILA, Philippines -- TNT coach Bong Ravena was full of praise for All-Star guard Roger Pogoy, after he battled through an ankle injury to lead the Tropang Giga's charge on Monday against Phoenix Super LPG.
Pogoy suffered a sprain to his right ankle in their 107-88 rout of San Miguel Beer on Friday, where he scored 15 points. He was a game-time decision for TNT against the Fuel Masters this afternoon, but wound up as part of the starting five.
"This kid, we call him the Wolverine," Ravena said of Pogoy. "For us coaches, we're supposed to let him rest. But this kid really wants to play."
Like the X-Man who possesses rapid regenerative healing, Pogoy showed little signs of being bothered by the ankle sprain. He played nearly 37 minutes against Phoenix Super LPG, scoring a team-high 30 points while making 11 of his 22 shots.
He scored 10 points in the crucial third quarter, where TNT overhauled a nine-point halftime deficit to take control.
"Credits na lang sa mga teammates ko, lalo nila sila Kuya Jayson (Castro), sila Ray-ray (Parks), lahat ng teammates ko. Kasi pinapasahan nila ako, tapos we move the ball lang talaga. So kung sinong libre, 'yun ang titira," Pogoy said after the game.
For Ravena, TNT is "lucky" to have a player like Pogoy who shows all heart.
"We came here, observing how he feels, and maybe thinking he can play. And then you know, we let him play," the coach explained.
It helped that TNT had a two-day layoff in between games, which allowed Pogoy to recover. According to Ravena, Pogoy was already moving well when they were warming up, which convinced the coaching staff that he can play against Phoenix.
"Bago pa lang mag-shoot around, mukhang okay naman siya. And then sabi niya siguro, pwede daw siya maglaro. So pinalaro na rin namin," said Ravena.
This is already Pogoy's second 30-point game in the conference. He had a career-best 45 points in their first game, a 100-95 come-from-behind win over the Alaska Aces.