With two of its star players down with injuries, the embattled TnT Tropang Giga is looking for the next man up heading into Game 5 of its PBA Philippine Cup Finals against Barangay Ginebra, starting at 6 tonight.
The team got quality minutes from back-up guard Almond Vosotros in the fourth quarter of Game 4, of which the Tropang Giga hope they could get even more from their bench as they try to stay alive in the best-of-seven series.
Main man Jayson Castro went out with a knee injury due to bone spurs in the team’s 98-88 loss the last time, joining big guard Ray Parks (strained left calf) on the bench as injuries began to hobble TnT’s starting unit.
But coach Bong Ravena is confident the Tropang Giga’s bench could rise to the occasion the way Vosotros did when he was called in to reinforce the team’s injury-plagued backcourt.
“Next man up,” he said as the Tropang Giga are staring at a 1-3 series deficit.
Guard Roger Pogoy, who’s the most consistent TnT player so far in the Finals, definitely agrees with his coach.
But it’s definitely an SOS situation for TnT now that help is immediately needed if it is to extend the title series further.
Barangay Ginebra takes its first of three cracks at that, going for the kill against Tropang Giga tonight.
The odds stacked heavily on the Kings with their high morale, confidence, momentum and the big plus on the injuries suffered by TNT top guns.
Nonetheless, Ginebra coach Tim Cone said it won’t be easy.
“TNT is going to come out line wounded tigers. It’s an organization with a lot of pride, so closing out this series will be incredibly difficult. We know that. We’ll need to earn it, they certainly won’t give us anything,” Cone said.
Ginebra’s 98-88 victory Sunday sent the Gin Kings to the doorstep of the bubble crown.
The Kings have got three cracks to nail the league’s most prestigious tourney that they haven’t won since 2007.
If they’re able to close the series out, the Kings would tie the Crispa Redmanizers’ record with 13 championships overall, one short of the similar hauls of Alaska Milk and Magnolia.*PBA.PH