Red-hot KaTropa eager to get going
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - June 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Coming off a pair of blowout victories, the red-hot TNT KaTropa set out to sustain their fiery form as they gun for a share of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup lead against a redemption-seeking Barangay Ginebra side tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Hot on the heels of their 114-88 rout of Phoenix in a skirmish-filled duel and an emphatic 110-97 drubbing of powerhouse San Miguel, the KaTropa (4-1) look to roar on in the 7 p.m. Independence Day encounter with the Gin Kings (2-2), eyeing a follow-up and a spot at the summit alongside idle Blackwater (5-1).

NorthPort (4-1), another hot-starting team, likewise trains its sight on a piece of pole position as it battles Magnolia (0-1), which is parading a new import in James Anthony Farr, in the 4:30 p.m. curtain-raiser.

TNT coach Bong Ravena said the in-form KaTropa need to match the expected hunger and intensity of the Gin Kings, who are determined to atone for their embarrassing 81-104 loss to erstwhile winless Rain or Shine last Friday.

“We should be ready for Ginebra to come out strong. (Double our efforts on) transition defense, boxing out and rebounding. We should want it more,” Ravena said.

Terrence Jones, TNT’s high-scoring import, looks forward to the challenge of facing the defending champions and their “sixth man.”

“Hope a lot of fans come,” said Jones, who will go up against 2018 Best Import Justin Brownlee. “I think a lot of fans have been showing a lot of love since I’ve been here and I’m just having fun each game, even with the incident (with Phoenix’s Calvin Abueva). I’m excited for Wednesday.”

The Gin Kings, rued their own mentor Tim Cone, paid the price for “taking for granted” the then 0-2 E-Painters. He also called on his locals to “take the challenge up and prove they can go out and win, and not rely on Justin too much.”

Meanwhile, Batang Pier tactician Pido Jarencio hopes to continue reaping the fruits of their defensive efforts.

“This is an import-flavored conference and high-scoring but we’ve been limiting our opponents to just 80-plus. That’s a testament to our defense, which is anchored on our import Prince Ibeh,” said Jarencio, whose wards dealt the all-Filipino champ Beermen their worst beating in a decade.

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