TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa. PBA IMAGE
TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa. PBA IMAGE

IT'S still over four months away but TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa would like to see the Tropang Giga come out with a better showing when the team joins in the 2023 East Asia Super League (EASL) home-and-away tournament slated to start on October 11.

Just last month, Lastimosa won his first PBA title as head coach after steering TNT to the PBA Governors' Cup championship.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial on Monday confirmed that the Tropang Giga, along with the Barangay Ginebra Kings — TNT's victims in the Finals — will represent the Philippines in the Asian regional hoops showcase.

Lastimosa admitted TNT must be able to adapt quickly in the EASL games, noting that club teams from Korea and Japan play a lot differently from the PBA style.

"We want to perform better," Lastimosa told The Manila Times. "[But] more than anything, it's the faster pace, and the let-go calls that are areas we need to adapt to."

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TNT didn't have time to adjust during its participation in the EASL Champions Week held on March 1-5 in Japan.

The Tropang Giga opened the weeklong tournament with a 99-66 beating at the hands of the host Utsonomiya Brex before closing their group stage assignment with an 80-69 defeat against the Seoul SK Knights.

The 59-year-old Lastimosa added that one lesson learned from the Japan trip was tapping a new import that didn't have chemistry with the team.

TNT brought in Nigerian American big man Daniel Ochefu as its second import to pair him with high-scoring Jalen Hudson, but their tandem failed to produce the desired result.

"Bringing in new imports with no teamwork is a recipe for disaster. So it's better to bring in one import that is part of the team," Lastimosa said, in retrospect.

The only challenge, he said, is how TNT could get a foreign reinforcement who can commit to play for the team for just two to three games in one month.