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PBA: TNT goes to Europe for buildup

Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy and Troy Rosario took another plane ride recently to join TNT KaTropa’s trip to Lithuania as part of their preparation for the scheduled opener of the 43rd PBA season on Dec. 17.

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Castro, Pogoy and Rosario are hoping to catch up with the schemes the KaTropa hope to execute to perfection by the time the season tips off after representing Gilas Pilipinas in the first window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Gilas won both matches, opening its campaign with a 77-71 win over Japan in Tokyo followed by a 90-83 triumph over Taiwan at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

TNT was scheduled to hold team building sessions followed by exhibition matches against club teams.

Meanwhile, other Gilas players, namely Alaska’s Calvin Abueva and Carl Bryan Cruz, NLEX’s Kiefer Ravena, Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood and Phoenix’s Matthew Wright saw action for their respective teams in a pocket tournament that ended yesterday at the Upper Deck Sports Center in Ortigas.

The rest of the national team members, on the other hand, played the role of spectators for various reasons.

Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine and Kevin Alas of NLEX sat out the mini-series with injuries, June Mar Fajardo was rested in San Miguel’s preseason loss to Kia at Claret School in Quezon City while Japeth Aguilar was given a long R&R by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Tim Cone.

Abueva, Cruz, Ravena, Norwood and Wright were given significant minutes by their respective teams during the pocket tourney participated by Rain or Shine, Phoenix, Alaska and NLEX.

Rain or Shine won the three-day event despite sharing identical 2-1 records with Phoenix by virtue of winning their match in the tournament opener held Monday.

Almazan failed to suit up for the Elasto Painters after hurting his ankle during Gilas practice while Alas is set to get treatment on an injured shoulder, according to Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao.