MANILA, Philippines -- Coaches of the TNT Tropang Giga are not losing their faith in Poy Erram and Troy Rosario, even as the two big men have struggled mightily in their PBA Philippine Cup semis series against Phoenix Super LPG.
TNT have forced a do-or-die game against the Fuel Masters for a spot in the All-Filipino finals, winning 102-101 in Game 4 where both Erram and Rosario made little impact. Rosario was scoreless in 23 minutes, missing all six of his field goals although he did have seven rebounds. Erram, meanwhile, played under 14 minutes and finished with just four points.
Instead, it was veteran forward Jay Washington who stepped up, playing over 31 minutes in the win.
"With Troy and Poy, andiyan lang naman sila," said TNT coach Bong Ravena after their slim win. "We really need them to step up. They have to be consistent, especially on defense."
Ravena noted that scoring isn't an issue for a TNT team that features Ray Parks, Roger Pogoy, and Jayson Castro. In Game 4, Parks exploded for 36 points, 17 of which came in the pivotal fourth quarter. Castro had 21 points, and Pogoy added 18 markers.
Still, they needed more from Erram and Rosario who have been comprehensively outplayed by the Phoenix Super LPG frontcourt of Jason Perkins, Justin Chua, and Calvin Abueva. Erram is averaging just 8.75 points on 48.4% shooting, while Rosario is contributing only 7.25 points on woeful 26.8% shooting from the field in the series.
"Lahat ginagawa namin to help Troy, especially from the start he's been struggling," said Ravena. "But we still believe in Troy, how he can contribute sa team, and we're still hoping he will still step up, especially on this very important game."
"So naniniwala pa rin naman kami kay Poy, kay Troy. Alam namin lalabas din 'yan, lalabas din 'yung laro nila," he added. "So we're not giving up on them. Kasama pa rin sila sa rotation."
Rosario and Erram will need to break out of their slump come Friday, when TNT face off against Phoenix Super LPG in Game 5 with a place in the finals on the line.
Both players have shown that they can get it done against the Fuel Masters. In Game 2, both Erram (10 points, 10 boards) and Rosario (10 points, 14 boards) finished with double-doubles in a 110-103 loss.
"We're hoping na makalaro sila nang maayos," said Ravena of their big men.