PBA: ‘Keep bumping me, I love it’ says Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on physical Game 5 win
MANILA, Philippines—TNT moved one win away from taking its first PBA Governors’ Cup Finals and a big part of it was due to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s monster outing in Game 5.
The Best Import of the Conference, however, was absent in the post-game press conference after a highly physical 104-95 victory over Ginebra that gave the Tropang Giga a pivotal 3-2 series lead at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
“I think he banged his head on the floor but I don’t think he’s affected by that at all. More than anything, he’s just tired. He gave his everything tonight,” coach Jojo Lastimosa explained after the game.
“He deserves that Best Player award tonight. Hey played [like he] didn’t want to lose tonight.”
Despite numerous banging and clanging, Hollis-Jefferson finished with a triple-double to the tune of 32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in over 47 minutes of play.
LOOK: TNT bench playing morale booster for a fallen Rondae Hollis-Jefferson after an awkward landing in the 9:16 mark of the fourth quarter.
He walked back to the bench with no help. TNT leads, 90-83. | @MeloFuertesINQ pic.twitter.com/fuHIheQ9Fu
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) April 19, 2023
When the former NBA player appeared after the showers, he did not look fazed at all. In fact, he even wants more.
“I’m good. I’m good, they just played a lot more physically today, lots of banging and bumping but that’s how I grew up playing. I embrace it and I love it,” Hollis-Jefferson said, still wearing a focused look.
“If anything, it’s taking away from their focus, bumping me so much so keep bumping me. I love it,” he added.
Hollis-Jefferson was instrumental in TNT’s comeback run in the second half after being down by 12, 61-49, after two quarters.
Hollis-Jefferson and his cohorts went on a blistering 32-point third salvo to set up a Barn-Burner finish in the fourth quarter.
During the payoff period, Tropang Giga knew the memo: go to RHJ.
“Starting in that first helped, they were out-hustling us and playing more aggressively like they wanted to win. We just had to take our time, take deep breaths and relax then the guys were just zoned in,” said Hollis-Jefferson.
TNT looks to close out the series on Friday when Game 6 rolls along at the same venue.
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