By ADRIAN STEWART CO
TNT Tropang Giga failed to protect its homecourt as it suffered a 75-66 loss to Chiba Jets of Japan in the East Asia Super League (EASL) at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna province’s Sta. Rosa City on Wednesday night, November 1.
It was the reigning PBA Governors’ Cup champion Tropang Giga’s second defeat to the Japan B.League-based squad Jets, as they dropped to a 0-2 win-loss slate in Group A.
The Jets were scorching to start the game as they established a 9-2 lead, but the Tropang Giga cut it to 11-13.
However, Chiba relied on their outside shooting as they pulled to a 23-14 lead.
Chiba continued to pull away in the second quarter with three-pointers from Yuki Togashi and inside conversions from John Mooney as they established a 50-32 halftime advantage.
The Tropang Giga responded with a huge run in the third quarter behind Quincy Miller as they cut the deficit to 53-58, but the Jets answered with a triple from Asato Ogawa and a three-point play from Mooney for a 64-56 advantage.
The Tropang Giga still attempted to come close in the fourth quarter at 63-69 on an Oftana basket, but an inside hit by Mooney and a triple from Shuta Hara sealed the win for the Jets.
Mooney finished with a double-double of 30 points and 16 rebounds. D.J. Stephens added his own double-double of 15 markers and 10 rebounds, while Togashi contributed 14 markers for the Jets.
“That’s Mooney. That’s just him. Guy has an unbelievable motor, [he] didn’t let referees’ calls bother him too much. Classic Mooney,” Chiba Jets head coach John Patrick said in a post-game interview.
Miller posted a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Frederick Tungcab added 10 points for the Tropang Giga, which played minus reinforcement Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
According to TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa, Hollis-Jefferson missed the game as he was dealing with gastroenteritis and could miss the upcoming 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
CHIBA 75 — Mooney 30, Stephens 15, Togashi 14, Ogawa 7, Hara 5, Okura 4, Brown 0, Kanechika 0, Kaishu 0, Arao 0.
TNT 66 — Miller 22, Tungcab 10, Castro 8, Oftana 8, K. Williams 7, Ponferada 3, Cruz 3, Khobuntin 3, Reyes 2, Montalbo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Quarterscores: 23-14, 50-32, 64-56, 75-66./ASC, WDJ