TNT Tropang Giga faced a disappointing 93-75 loss to the Chiba Jets on October 11, 2023, in the opening match of the EASL (East Asia Super League) Season 2.
The game took place at the Funabashi Arena in Japan, and the Tropang Giga had a challenging time keeping up with their opponents.
In the first half, TNT was in the lead with a score of 41-35. However, the Chiba Jets made a remarkable comeback, launching a 23-8 scoring run that spanned the second and third quarters, ultimately erasing their six-point deficit and securing a 58-49 lead.
Despite a lackluster performance by star guard Yuki Togashi, Chiba managed to secure the win. Naturalized player Iran Brown and DJ Stephens were the standout players for the Jets, each contributing 19 points. Ren Kanechica also played a pivotal role by scoring six of Chiba’s 16 three-pointers, finishing the game with 18 points.
TNT’s Quincy Miller led the team with 22 points, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, fresh from a silver medal win with Jordan in the 19th Asian Games, contributed 15 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. However, Hollis-Jefferson struggled with his shooting, making only 6-of-28 attempts and going 0-for-9 from three-point range.
Several key players were missing from TNT’s lineup, including Roger Pogoy, Calvin Oftana, Poy Erram, Justin Chua, Mikey Williams, Jewel Ponferada, and rookie Henry Galinato.
Looking ahead, TNT is eager to redeem themselves in the rematch against the Chiba Jets on November 1 when they host the Jets in Manila. Coach Jojo Lastimosa is confident that the Tropang Giga will perform much better in the upcoming game, thanks to the addition of two formidable imports, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Quincy Miller.
Hollis-Jefferson joined the team shortly before their departure to Japan after his stint with the Jordan national team in the Asian Games. Despite having limited practice time with the team, both imports showcased their skills in the season opener.
“This time around, we have two good imports, great imports in Rondae and Quincy. That’s the reason why I’m confident this season will be much better than the last time we were here,” said Lastimosa.
During the previous EASL Champions Week in March, TNT had an unfortunate winless streak. With their current lineup, they hope to leave a stronger impression in the league.
The Tropang Giga faced challenges during the match as they lacked key players such as Calvin Oftana, Roger Pogoy, and Poy Erram, who are members of the Gilas pool, and Fil-Am guard Mikey Williams. Coach Lastimosa acknowledged that their stamina waned in the second half but expressed optimism about the team’s prospects in the upcoming games.