Apr 01, 2023

Jolas welcomes underdog role for TNT in Finals showdown against Ginebra

TNT is the top seeded team in the PBA Governors' Cup playoffs, but is the obvious underdog in its coming Finals showdown with reigning champion Barangay Ginebra.

Tropang Giga coach Jojo Lastimosa is embracing the underdog role of his team heading to the best-of-seven series that begins on April 9 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Not even TNT beating Ginebra, 114-105, in their lone encounter in the eliminations would change the mind of Lastimosa, who will be up against his former coach Tim Cone in his first finals foray as head mentor.

"I have nothing to lose. Our team has nothing to lose," said the 59-year-old cage great after the Tropang Giga clinched the last finals berth with a 107-92 rout of Meralco to win their semis series, 3-1.

"Everybody is rallying for them (Kings), and everybody is expecting Ginebra to win this championship, anyway. And we're only here to probably spoil the party, and hopefully we could come up with a good game like what we did in this series. We got Rondae on my side and I'm OK with it."

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The Kings finished the eliminations as the no. 3 seeded team, but are so far undefeated in the playoffs in a run that included a three-game sweep of second seed San Miguel in the semifinals.

And the team is on a winning run despite not having main players Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio.

Ginebra is likewise gunning for a second straight championship after previously ruling the Commissioner's Cup by toppling guest team Bay Area Dragons.

All of those are not lost on Lastimosa and the Tropang Giga, who are nonetheless, raring to give the defending champions a competitive series.

"Going into this series, I like my chances. Our players are playing well, and we've been winning games with our shares in scoring. And right now we're defending really well. So we really need to play offense and defense in this championship series. I think the guys are going to be ready," said the TNT coach. (RG)

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