Talk ‘n Text (TNT) are a heavy favorite to win it all in the 2020 Philippine Cup of the 45th Season of the Philippine Basketball Association PBA). But fans and critics are concerned that egos will be the death of the newest super team in the league.
The Tropang Giga is already showing their dominance in the early part of the season, putting the teams in the bubble on notice as they continued with a perfect 3-0 start last night.
TNT’s latest win came in dominant fashion against the defending champion San Miguel Beermen, as it finished 107-88. They were led by a dominant performance by Poy Erram, who finished with 27 points and 15 rebounds.
The Tropang Giga have one of the most stacked starting fives in recent memory, being dubbed as “the Gilas five”, the combination of Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, Ray Parks, Troy Rosario and Erram is certainly proving effective. Adding to their embarrassment of riches are the productive guys coming off the bench like Simon Encisio, Ryan Reyes, Samboy De Leon and Almond Vosotros and rookie Kib Montalbo.
In their last three wins, TNT saw three different guys leading the team to the W. Pogoy dropped 45 points in their first game against Alaska (100-95), followed by Parks’ 40-point explosion against Terrafirma (112-101), and now the big double-double game from Erram.
TNT’s stacked roster positions the team to win this season, a feat that the organization hasn’t experienced since 2015.
A roster like this, however, has a huge chance of imploding as egos of the stars could take over and ruin team chemistry. Hence why legendary point guard Jimmy Alapag believes that knowing your role in a stack team is crucial in campaigning for a title.
“I think it’s all about guys being willing to make sacrifices for each other for the betterment of the team. It’s not an easy thing to do, but when guys commit to that you give yourself a great chance to be successful,” said Alapag to me in an interview.
The former TNT star is no stranger in playing for a “super team” as back in the early parts of the 2010s, he played for the former Tropang Texters who a dominant stretch in the league.
Alapag was once part of a TNT squad that had the likes of Castro, Larry Fonacier, Jared Dillinger, Kelly Williams, Ali Peek, Ranidel De Ocampo, Harvey Carey and Reyes all in their prime. With Coach Chot Reyes and Coach Norman Black taking turns in leading the blue and yellow team to championships.
That Tropang Giga squad went on to win four titles. Defending the Philippine Cup title thrice from 2011-2013 and winning the Commissioner’s Cup in 2011. From 2011-2012 Coach Chot led them to three titles while Coach Norman led them to a championship in 2013.
Despite having a stacked line-up, Alapag and the early 2010s TNT crew made it work and won multiple titles.
The player-turned-coach believes that this year’s TNT team has a huge chance of winning it all with the perfect mix of young stars and veteran leadership.
“They definitely are in the conversation of competing for this championship. (RR) Pogoy and Ray (Parks) had incredible performances early, and the leadership there with guys like Jayson (Castro), Ryan (Reyes), J-Wash (Jay Washington) and Harvey (Carey) gives them great balance. I expect them to make a strong run at the championship,” he said.
TNT will be back in action on Monday against fellow undefeated team, Phoenix at 4:00 p.m.