Oftana stresses importance of team work as TNT set to miss key cogs
MANILA, Philippines -- With several main guns missing with about two weeks left before the start of the PBA season, the TNT Tropang Giga should play as a whole unit for a chance to contend, forward Calvin Oftana said.
Fresh off a gold medal finish in the Hangzhou Asian Games, Oftana is expected to carry the team, which is missing guards Mikey Williams and RR Pogoy, as well as big man Poy Erram.
Erram has an injury, while Pogoy is out with a heart condition.
Williams is still yet to report to the team.
A whole team approach is needed for the Tropang Giga to be able to battle it out with the other teams, Oftana told reporters during the PBA Media Day.
“I want to play with my teammates, because it is hard to play by yourself. And, knowing that our core players are missing… I think the best thing to do to play against other teams is to play as a team,” he told reporters in Filipino.
“We have good size, we have good players and we have good coaches that will help us,” he added.
While missing the three players certainly hurt, TNT is still expected to make some noise in the upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup especially with import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in tow.
Hollis-Jefferson carried TNT to the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup championship.
Aside from the sweet-shooting Oftana, veterans Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, Glenn Khobuntin, Ryan Reyes and rookie Henry Galinato are all expected to show up for the Tropang Giga.
TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa, meanwhile, said that it is obviously a big plus for the team that they have Hollis-Jefferson, especially with the team missing key players.
“We know how good Rondae is and what he brings to the table for us. So, having Rondae there gives us a little bit more confidence, even without Mikey and Roger,” he said in a separate interview.
“But still, not having that 40 points from Mikey and Roger, those are big points to fill in,” he added.