If there is one team in the Philippine Basketball Association that is bristling to return to action then it is certainly the reloaded TNT KaTropa.
The team is coming off a campaign that saw it advance to the playoffs of the three conferences at stake last year. TNT advanced to the semifinals of both the Commissioner’s Cup and the Governors’ Cup, respectively.
With former NBA player Terrence Jones, TNT was actually favored to rule last year’s mid-season tournament. But the San Miguel Beermen had other plans which left TNT in second place.
The franchise’s response was to retool by adding star players to its already formidable core.
It finally landed a major big man in Poy Erram. They also have sophomore guard Bobby Ray Parks signed to a new contract. Former Alaska Aces firebrand Simon Enciso came aboard. Rookie guard Kib Montalbo agreed to an 18-month deal with the team.
Everything seems in place for the KaTropa to make a big splash in the Philippine Cup as they try to finally end a five-year title drought.
But the Covid-19 pandemic came and the world seemed to turn upside down.
“Maganda na sana yung ensayo namin papasok ng All-Filipino. Nakapag-kapaan na kami, kasi nung pumasok si RayRay (Parks) saglit lang kami nag-kasama (sa team),” said guard Roger Pogoy.
“Excited na kaming makalaro kasi ang tagal na naming nag-e-ensayo. Sayang nga lang dumating itong COVID.”
TNT is ready with veterans Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Pogoy, Ryan Reyes and Kelly Williams.
They will also have sophomore guard JayJay Alejandro, back-up big man Lervyn Flores, rookie Val Chauca and free agent Gryann Mendoza.
“Nadagdagan kami ng height (sa mga trades). Nandiyan na kasi si Poy, may panapat na kami sa big guys ng ibang teams. Tapos medyo (mga) bata pa kami, so yung tangke namin (puno pa),” said Rosario as the waiting game for the resumption of the PBA season continues.