For four games in the PBA Philippine Cup, there’s one team that seems to be enjoying the comfort of the Bubble -- the TNT Tropang Giga.
Four games, all resulting in victories. The way things are going, the Tropang Giga are priming themselves up to make a serious run for the championship in the period of the pandemic and as challenging as it may seem, TNT had prepared themselves to be in this situation.
The two-week camp it put up prior to the restart of the shortened season had somehow made the KaTropa more accustomed to living life away from their loved ones and trusting everyone on the team. It has strengthened the bond of each member of the squad—not just on the court, but also outside of it.
At least for two months—or make it two and a half if a team makes it all the way—these players will try to depend on one another. Some of them will share a room with somebody they know vaguely. Others will try to use this moment to fortify further their relationship with one another and that has translated inside the playing court.
That makes Roger Pogoy a lot tougher.
Pogoy used the two-week camp to make himself better. His excitement to return to the game was overflowing to the point that he used the extra time to shoot the basketball during the camp. It spilled over during the games as he hit a season-high 45 points built on 10 triples during his team’s opening game.
Away from his family, Pogoy knew he also needed to build on his character and make himself stronger, that’s why, he played in pain when he suited up Monday night as he pumped in 30 points despite nursing a bum ankle. He became only one of two players so far to score at least 30 points twice in the early stage of the season.
Overall, Pogoy has averaged 23.7 points on a 44-percent shooting from beyond the arc, while also contributing seven rebounds.
The Bubble is also a time for Ray Parks to reflect and challenge himself in making a statement. The nearly forgotten talented guard was able to show his potential in the Tropang Giga’s second game of the season, where he knocked in 40 points. It’s the first time in a long while that players from the same team made back-to-back 40-plus points performances.
And for all intents and purposes, the younger Parks is finally living up to his great name as a son of the late seven-time PBA Best Import, a two-time PBA champion reinforcement and a league Hall of Famer.
He had to remind everyone that he was once a back-to-back Most Valuable Player in the UAAP and was invited to play for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Summer League. It’s time he showed he belongs in the big league.
The Bubble Tournament is also the best time for everyone to showcase their stuff.
There’s Poy Erram, proving that he’s now becoming as one of the elite big men in the PBA. There’s Ryan Reyes, the old, grizzled veteran, who remain as ever dependable on both ends of the court.
We have yet to see a breakout performance from Troy Rosario, the 6’7” stretch four forward, who is now being watched closely by his predecessor Ranidel de Ocampo, now a member of the TNT coaching staff.
Rosario did put up decent numbers in the four games TNT won and it would only be a matter of time before we see him dominate in future games.
The signal is loud and clear for the Tropang Giga in Pampanga and as a team, it has streamed its brand of play uninterrupted and no buffers, just like when you’re watching your favorite series on Netflix.
And they’ve only just begun.