MANILA, Philippines – A hugely favored TNT KaTropa team found itself ran off the floor on Sunday, when they faced the Alaska Aces in the quarterfinals of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
The top-seeded KaTropa needed just one victory to advance to the semifinals, and they were pegged to beat an Alaska team that needed to beat Meralco in a playoff just to qualify for the quarterfinals.
But Alaska thoroughly overwhelmed them, eventually claiming a 108-72 triumph to force a knockout duel on Wednesday.
TNT consultant Mark Dickel was blunt when asked what went wrong for the KaTropa.
"They out-hustled us, out-rebounded us, out-worked us. They were just more ready to play, and ultimately when that happens, you're gonna be in trouble," he said.
"So it kinda felt like whatever could go wrong went wrong. And they really played hard and played better, so they deserved to win," he added.
Alaska shot 42% from the field in the win, and got six players in double digits. Defensively, they were on point – the Aces limited an explosive KaTropa team to just 29% shooting, with prolific import Terrence Jones scoring just 19 points.
Afterward, Alaska coach Alex Compton noted that TNT missed shots they would normally make, but Dickel gave full credit to the Aces for the win.
"I just think they played well, and we didn't react well to it," he said.
"I just thought the fact that we didn't make shots, and we didn't stick to our rules on D, that kinda took us all out of our rhythm. It just wasn't good," he also said.
The KaTropa now have two days to make adjustments and try to get back at Alaska on Wednesday.
"They were ready and jumped out us, so we gotta return the favor on Wednesday," said Dickel.
"That's on me to work out how we're gonna do better the next game and come out and give a better effort," he also said.
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