Two down, two to go for the TNT Tropang Giga, who can take a step closer to the title if they could beat the Magnolia Hotshots in Game 3 on Sunday. Will TNT push the Hotshots to the edge? Or, will Magnolia respond with a win to cut its series deficit in half?
Catch this game live on October 24, 4:35 pm, Manila time.
The Magnolia Hotshots (0-2)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jio Jalalon
- SG: Paul Lee
- SF: Rome dela Rosa
- PF: Calvin Abueva
- C: Ian Sangalang
The Hotshots are now in a deeper hole after their 105-93 loss in Game 2 on Friday to TNT. What made that setback an even bitter pill to swallow for Magnolia is that its Game 2 loss was almost a carbon copy of how it fell prey to the Tropang Giga in Game 1.
In both games, TNT overpowered the Hotshots with its offense that Magnolia simply could not match. If the Hotshots are to prevent a 0-3 series deficit to TNT, they need their big guns to show up all at the same time. Paul Lee is just 8 of 24 in the series. Calvin Abueva is 6 of 23. Ian Sangalang rebounded from a 5-point performance in Game 1 and scored 25 in Game 2, but he clearly did not get ample support from Lee and Abueva.
Magnolia also could have avoided the two blowouts if the Hotshots only maximized their chances on the foul line. They have missed 27 free throws through two games. Some of their misses took the air out of their comeback attempts. Magnolia’s not having much success stopping TNT’s outside shooting, but at some point, the Tropang Giga’s scorching 3-point accuracy will cool off, and the hope for Magnolia is that it’ll come in Game 3.
The TNT Tropang Giga (2-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Brian Heruela
- SG: RR Pogoy
- SF: Mikey Williams
- PF: Troy Rosario
- C: JP Erram
Mikey Williams has been an unsolvable problem for Magnolia. Look for the Tropang Giga to ride the hottest hand of them all in Game 3, as Williams is simply having his way against whatever kind of defensive setups Magnolia is throwing at him, thus far in the series.
In Game 2, Williams dropped 28 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field while also going 5 of 9 from deep. Magnolia’s got some good defensive guards, but so far, Alex Barroca and Jio Jalalon are being constantly shredded by the super rookie. As a team, the Tropang Giga went full Golden State Warriors on Magnolia Friday night, sinking 17 threes on 40 attempts. Just like in Game 1, TNT broke away in Game 2 just before halftime and spent the second half managing its lead and snuffing Magnolia’s comeback bids.
The challenge for TNT is to keep its offense going and Magnolia’s top scorers in check. The Tropang Giga is not showing any mercy on a clearly hurting Paul Lee, even sending one of this generation’s best perimeter defenders in Ryan Reyes to shadow Magnolia’s top offensive threat in Game 2. JP Erram had 12 rebounds and four blocks in that game as well. Even if their offense regresses, the Tropang Giga’s defense is going to keep their heads above water.
If you’re a Magnolia fan, look away. After two blowouts, it’s quite clear which team is better. The series is not over, but the safest spread pick is TNT. Take the Tropang Giga to cover (-2.5).
Over/Under: Magnolia made a marked improvement on its scoring output in Game 2, and that trend could continue. Also, I’m not sure the Hotshots can do much about TNT’s offense. Take the Over (181.0).