TNT defenders swarm Meralco import KJ McDaniels. –PBA IMAGES

TNT defenders swarm Meralco import KJ McDaniels. –PBA IMAGES

Jojo Lastimosa is taking TNT’s 30-point mauling of Meralco in the opener of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals with a grain of salt, knowing the opposing coach’s capability of trying to lead his team back.

“I don’t want to think that Meralco’s not gonna come up with a great plan,” Lastimosa said ahead of the Tropang Giga’s bid to gain a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

TNT’s bid comes before defending two-time champion Barangay Ginebra eyes a similar lead over San Miguel Beer in the other Final Four tiff at 6:45 p.m.

The Tropang Giga capitalized on a weary Bolts, who had to go through the wringer to eliminate the Magnolia Hotshots in the quarterfinals. TNT took a 110-80 win that made it look like Meralco didn’t belong on the same floor two nights ago.

Meralco is eager not to make fatigue an excuse, especially since a loss will put coach Norman Black’s side on the brink of elimination.

“Norman’s been there,” said Lastimosa, the all-time great who had his share of playoff battles against Black during his days with Alaska. “I’ve played against him and he’s been coaching for a long time and he’s won a lot. And he knows how to adjust in this kind of situation.”

Black conceded that his Bolts played with tired legs, which he hopes would not be in the case this time.

But that doesn’t mean Black is discounting how well TNT played behind import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who produced 22 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in another all-around performance.

Triple-double import

TNT import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with another triple-double. –PBA IMAGES

TNT import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with another triple-double. –PBA IMAGES

Hollis-Jefferson’s numbers have prompted Black to issue a challenge to his import, KJ McDaniels, who was held to just 12 points despite being the highest scorer for the Bolts in the defeat.

“He’s up against a very tough import and he has to raise his game for us to have success in this series because the kid (Hollis-Jefferson) seems pretty good,” Black said.

Another thing that will put Hollis-Jefferson in the spotlight is his condition. The former NBA player was pulled out in the third after hurting his groin, but was quick to brush off any concerns, saying “I’m good.”

The other series will see if Ginebra can make up for almost blowing Game 1 when San Miguel was able to wipe out a 21-point deficit and even things out early in the fourth.

Christian Standhardinger, Jamie Malonzo and import Justin Brownlee were huge in giving the Gin Kings the victory.

San Miguel is keen on getting back at Ginebra with import Cameron Clark and CJ Perez eyeing to play lead roles.

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