Mar 21, 2019

KaTropa aim to remain on track for Top 2 vs dangerous Dyip

A FOUR-game winning streak has kept TNT solidly on course for a coveted two finish by the end of the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations.

The KaTropa do not have any plans of straying from that target. Not at this crucial point.

"Every game is very important for us because we have a chance na maka-top two," TNT coach Bong Ravena has repeatedly stressed.

"Kaya every opportunity na dumating we have to grab it," added Ravena.

That very much sums up the KaTropa's mindset going to their penultimate elims match against Columbian Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

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The Dyip are in dire need of a win in their final elims match to at least stay in the hunt for a playoff berth for the eighth and last berth in the quarterfinals.

Much higher is the goal of TNT, which is gunning for the slot just right behind No. 1 Phoenix.

Should the KaTropa prevail over Columbian and against NorthPort on Sunday, then they bump off previous victim Rain or Shine from the No. 2 spot.

That placing and the win-once advantage over the seventh-ranked team would only be realized by TNT, however, should Barangay Ginebra (currently 5-3) drops one of its last three games.

The Gin Kings won over the KaTropa on opening day and are also eyeing a top two finish.

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Ravena's immediate focus is of his team taking care of its own of the bargain starting with Columbian and has even outlined a basic gameplan against the Dyip.

"Defense, ball pressure," offered Ravena on the eve of the match.

"We cannot take the game lightly. It's still a must-win game."

Such an attitude has already served TNT in good stead, enabling it to go undefeated since losing to Meralco on Jan. 30.

During its current streak, TNT has limited its opponents to just 83.5 points while averaging 99.75 itself.

"Naka-focus on defense, then offense will follow," was how Ravena explained it.

Indeed, TNT's all-around game must be spot-on if it hopes to hurdle a Columbian crew that has already claimed the scalps of such fancied teams as defending champion San Miguel Beer, previously unbeaten NorthPort, Meralco and Rain or Shine. (NC)