SISTER teams TNT and NLEX lock horns as they shoot for a share of the lead in the standings in the 2022-23 PBA Governors' Cup today, February 1, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Both teams collide at 4:45 p.m. with the winner moving into a share of top spot with idle Converge (3-0).
The Tropang Giga opened the season-ending conference with a 123-119 triumph over Phoenix Fuel Masters, before storming back from a double-digit deficit to subdue the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 105-100 last week.
On the other hand, the Road Warriors routed the Blackwater Bossing 124-102 followed by a 121-112 win against the NorthPort Batang Pier.
While imports Jalen Hudson of TNT and Jonathon Simmons of NLEX could practically cancel each other out, the deciding factor boils down to which team will get the best from its locals.
Filipino American guard Mikey Williams erupted for a near triple-double output of 24 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists against Rain or Shine and his three-point shot late in the game practically sealed the deal for TNT.
The 2021 Philippine Cup Finals Most Valuable Player, though, admitted that he is still not 100 percent healthy due to the injuries he sustained on both Achilles heels in this season's All-Filipino Cup title series versus San Miguel Beer.
TNT new coach Jojo Lastimosa said he's not in a rush to bring the former PBA Rookie of the Year back to the starting unit as he allows him to slowly get back into his groove.
Simmons, however, is motivated to lead the Road Warriors to another victory, having committed to play at least the first four games of the team before moving back to China to play in the Chinese Basketball Association.
But manpower-wise, TNT has the depth with Roger Pogoy deadly as ever from downtown, along with Calvin Oftana, veteran combo guard Jayson Castro, rugged big man Kelly Williams and veteran slotman Justin Chua, whom the Tropang Giga acquired just two weeks ago in a multiteam, multiplayer trade.
Meanwhile, reigning Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer shoots for its second straight win when it faces unpredictable Blackwater in the first game at 3 p.m.
The Beermen, now being handled by new coach Jorge Gallent, kicked off the import-spiced conference with a 114-93 demolition of the Fuel Masters last Sunday.
SMB was hardly threatened by Phoenix in that game as the league's all-time winningest team roared ahead by 33 points before coasting to the victory.
Gallent's wards will be facing a Blackwater five that is coming off a 108-105 triumph over Phoenix to even its record at 1-1.
But the Beermen remain as the heavy favorites to win this one with six-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, and backstopping import Cameron Clark, who had 23 points and seven boards in his first game for the team.2023-01-31T17:40:18Z dg43tfdfdgfd