Hollis-Jefferson Siblings Propel TNT to Inaugural EASL Victory
MANILA, Philippines–TNT finally got the elusive first victory in the East Asia Super League behind the sterling performances of the Hollis-Jefferson brothers after getting back on the visiting Taipei Fubon Braves, 80-69, Wednesday in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came away with 35 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks while older Rahlir had 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks in his debut as the Tropang Giga ended their EASL misery after dropping their previous four matches in Group A.
Calvin Oftana also came through for TNT in the win that may help the team gain some confidence amid a rollercoaster campaign on the domestic front in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
It also marks the second straight week that a PBA team got a victory in the continental competition after Meralco outlasted Japan’s B.League champion Ryukyu Golden Kings in overtime on Dec. 13 in Macau.
The Tropang Giga avenged their 106-97 loss to the Braves last month in Taipei.
Import Chris Johnson and Fil-Am guard Sedrick Barefield tried to pull off a repeat victory over TNT but Taipei dropped to 1-3.
Back-to-back threes from Glenn Khobuntin and Oftana put the Tropang Giga ahead 70-58 early in the fourth, putting the fight out of the Braves.
Fubon pulled within a point, 57-56, in the third before TNT pulled away.