MANILA, Philippines – A grateful Terrence Jones credited his teammates and the TNT coaching staff after he was named the Best Import of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday evening.
Jones received the award ahead of Game 4 of their best-of-7 finals series against San Miguel, as he beat out Ginebra's Justin Brownlee and SMB's Chris McCullough for the honor.
A former first-round draft pick in the NBA, Jones has been sensational for TNT in the Commissioner's Cup. He led them to a 10-1 record and the No. 1 seed in the elimination round, then powered them to the finals behind averages of 30.2 points, 15.7 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.8 blocks, and 1.5 steals per game.
"I just wanna thank all my teammates. Without them, it wouldn't be possible," said Jones, who also expressed his gratitude to the TNT coaching staff and their organization for bringing him into the fold.
"You know, it's a blessing and I'm just happy that I was able to receive that award, and also happy that you know, my teammate, Jay Castro, got to win an award as well," he added.
TNT's veteran point guard, Jayson Castro, won the Best Player of the Conference award – the fifth of his career.
For Jones, their awards are a testament to TNT's success as a team.
"We've really worked hard as a team to put ourselves in the position to have the No. 1 seed, and just build chemistry and believe in one another from Day 1," he explained.
"So it was just, you know, a great opportunity to reach all the achievements, and we still got one more to go," he added.
To get that one final achievement that Jones is targeting – the PBA championship – they have to get past a San Miguel team that has proven to be quite stubborn in the finals.
The Beermen took a 106-101 triumph in Game 4, fending off TNT's fourth quarter comeback after the KaTropa trailed by as much as 15 points. It was not the only time in this series that they had fallen behind – they also had to mount rallies in Games 2 and 3, and for Jones, this is a concern.
"Honestly, I feel like we've spotted them the extra 10 points every first half and fight back in it every game. I feel like we're, you know, putting ourselves in a hole, then climbing out of it, win or loss," he said.
"(We have to) just focusing on starting the way we finish," he stressed. "I think we're finishing games with desperation on defense and being aggressive, and everybody's, you know, trying to win."
Avoiding these slow starts will go a long way towards fulfilling their goals, said the import.
"If we just start the game how we played in the second half, I think we'll be good."
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