TNT coach Nash Racela considers game against Globalport an acid test

April 20, 2017

TNT KaTropa is among the tournament frontrunners but will be facing elite rivals only in the closing run of its elims campaign. The Texters brace up for that tough, killer stretch as they go up against the struggling GlobalPort side in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night. Jason Castro and his teammates hope to keep their winning ways and build more buffer before taking an ultimate test against five formidable foes in Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer, Star, Alaska Milk and Rain or Shine. The Texters are at 4-1 going to their 7 p.m. tiff with the Batang Pier. “It’s good to be where we are right now but the tough challenges are ahead of us,” said TNT coach Nash Racela, also considering GlobalPort as an acid test. The Batang Pier finally nailed a breakthrough win in the tourney against the NLEX Road Warriors (85-82) the last time out. And they’re raring to make it two in a row versus the Texters. GlobalPort defied the odds just when everything seemed going against them. Stanley Pringle and Malcolm White delivered clutch plays as the Batang Pier bucked the death of assistant coach Senen Duenas, the absence of head coach Franz Pumaren due to an ailment and the early exit of top gun Terrence Romeo on cramps. They are likely to be buoyed up by that win as they tangle with the Texters in a match featuring the exciting matchup between Gilas point guards Romeo and Castro. White is also expected to have a good matchup with Donte Greene. The GlobalPort import showed resilience in the face of tough adversity the last time. TNT KaTropa survived an atrocious shooting and an avalanche of errors, leaning on crucial defensive efforts at the finish to foil Mahindra, 86-84, in its last outing. Before the NLEX game, the Texters also barely got past the Blackwater Elite, 92-89. Their lone convincing triumph was a 134-109 bashing of the Phoenix Fuel Masters after their losing conference debut against the Meralco Bolts. Nonetheless, the Texters remain unbeaten since Castro’s first game in the mid-season tourney.