Jong Uichico rues TNT’s early exit: They are living in their time with Chot Reyes

Tropang TNT coach Jong Uichico blasted the Tropang Texters after getting knocked out by the Alaska Aces in the 2016 PBA Commissioners Cup via a dominant 99-81 victory on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, lamenting his players’ lack of resiliency in do-or-die matches.

“It’s a disappointing,” rued Uichico, 53, following a closed-door meeting with team owner Manny V. Pangilinan and members of the Tropang TNT coaching staff that lasted for more than one and a half hours inside the Big Dome’s VIP room.

Uichico couldn’t help but be upset of the Tropang Texters’ performance against the Aces in their do-or-die showdown, trailing by as many as 25 points twice while being dominated in virtually all departments on their way to succumbing the mid-season throne as early as the quarterfinal stage.

“We played all in the first game and we played pretty well in the second. But they didn’t play at all today. Of course, give credit to Alaska. We were in a do-or-die game. But even if it’s not a do-or-die (match), how can another team just dominate you that way?” he asked.

“We could have loss the game. Wala namang problema. But not that way, never. Unless the team is so superior which they are not.”

Uichico also lamented the Texters’ inconsistency in terms of their play, something they have failed to address after soaring to greater heights under former mentor Chot Reyes, who led the team to five championships.

Interestingly, Reyes, 52, now serving president of Media5, another company under Pangilinan’s group, was also in attendance during the Texters’ loss against the Aces.

“They are living in their time with Chot Reyes. Chot did a great job with five championships. They are re-living those days. But it’s not there anymore. We should find another way to play the game. And they were…di ba?” he said.

“It’s their attitude. When things are going well, they are going well. When things are not going well, they just give up. It happened so many times,” Uichico continued, even referring to their numbing 89-104 loss against Rain or Shine in another knockout quarterfinal clash during the Philippine Cup last December.

“The same thing here. Not everything will go your way. So when things don’t go your way, just keep on playing. When things don’t go your way, you should be more resilient. They tried, maybe, but not enough.”

Uichico, a nine-time pro league champion as a coach, is convinced the Texters have what it takes to go deep in the playoffs but living up to their potential is another thing.

“We’re accustomed to winning but we don’t know how to win those crucial games,” he stressed.

Uichico, however, refused to clarify if there’s a rigodon in the offing but he is expecting “the team management will meet with them (the players).” – By Jerome Lagunzad

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