MANILA, Philippines – TNT clinched the twice-to-beat playoff bonus boasting of the best record in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, and that had a lot to do with import Terrence Jones having immense trust in the locals.
Jones recorded his second straight triple-double as TNT cruised to its seventh consecutive win and ninth overall in 10 games following a 115-97 drubbing of Blackwater on Sunday, July 7.
He finished with 36 points, 16 rebounds, 14 assists, and 3 blocks – becoming the first TNT player in franchise history to have at least 3 triple doubles in the same conference since Silas Mills in the 1998 Governors' Cup.
"I give the credit to my teammates, you know. I tell them to shoot the ball when they get it and they're making shots," Jones told reporters after the game.
"A lot of these teams are trying to double team me and I just want them to be ready and have confidence. I think that's how we're playing now and everybody's having fun and enjoying each other."
Expectations were high when Jones – an NBA veteran who suited up for the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, and Milwaukee Bucks – came to reinforce TNT.
And for a player of Jones' caliber and experience, all the locals had to do was follow suit.
"I think it's come to them listening and understanding that I have a little experience on what it takes to try to win and be a good teammate. They listened and understood that and we've been having fun ever since," he said.
"I hope you guys see that while we're playing, we're smiling and enjoying one another when anybody scores. It's just like a family atmosphere."
Although already playoff-bound, Jones vowed TNT will not take anything lightly as it faces Magnolia for its final elimination round game at the Araneta Coliseum on July 17.
"We're not trying to worry too much into the future, just trying to stay right in the moment and that's the next game ahead of us." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.