Jong Uichico glad to see Tropang TNT’s fire is back

Despite winning its last 3 games, Jayson Castro felt Tropang TNT still has a lot of things to work on as it defends its PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship this season.

Currently in the middle of the standings at 5-4 with Barangay Ginebra, Rain or Shine and sister team NLEX, TNT will try to sweep its last 2 games when it faces Mahindra on April 9, before closing the eliminations against San Miguel Beer on April 15.

“Ngayon, parang iyun yung mga goals namin, yung play defense at saka yung 50-50 balls mapunta sa amin although unti-unti pa rin kasi siyempre, marami ring bago sa amin,” Castro said, whose team whipped Barangay Ginebra, 107-92 Wednesday night.

Read: Othyus Jeffers: We’ve got to play some defense

The 5-foot-8 Castro, who is coming off a conference-low 10 points against the Kings, believes chemistry has a lot to do with the Tropa’s ongoing winning streak.

He cited that freshmen Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario, the top 2 picks in last year’s rookie draft, are slowly jelling with the rest of the team.

“At least, yung mga rookies namin, nakukuha na nila yung system. Saka komportable na sila at kami din komportable na kami sa kanila,” he added.

Meantime, TNT coach Jong Uichico said he’s just happy to see the fire in the eyes of his players, something that appeared to be missing after starting their title-retention bid on the wrong foot.

“I hope we’ve found the energy needed kasi iyun naman ang kulang namin eh. The fire when you play the game,” shared the 8-time PBA champion coach.

Read: After showing skills in the ABL, Kris Rosales to play in the PBA soon

“I think they showed that in the past 3 games.”

Uichico also credited import David Simon for bringing in a strong defensive presence for the team as evident in his solid numbers of 25.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals since coming in to replace banned reinforcement Ivan Johnson.

“That’s all we want from our import, his consistency. He’s very coachable and he knows what to do in the game, alam niya advantage niya sa loob,” he added. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava


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