October 11, 2023 – Funabashi Arena, Chiba, Japan
Chiba Jets utilized their three-point shooting in the third quarter to beat PBA side TNT Tropang Giga 93-75 in Group A in the opening game of the East Asia Super League 2023-24 season.
After clunky start, Jets revved up their engine for the third quarter
- TNT led by as much as seven in the second quarter after a slow start from the Jets. But Chiba turned it on late in the quarter and managed to lead by one at the half. Chiba went full throttle in the third quarter, outscoring TNT 26-12 to give themselves a 15-point lead. They eventually cruised to an 18-point victory, 93-75.
Chiba Jets rained fire from the arc
- After shooting just 33 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, the Chiba Jets rained threes in the second half, hitting 10 of 21 treys for 47 percent from deep.
Expected TNT comeback riddled with misfires
- On the other side, TNT were poor shooting from distance, going six for 27 from deep in the game for 22 percent. Star import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was 0-for-9 from three. He finished with 15 points but shot just 22 percent from the field.
Player of the Game: Ira Brown, Chiba Jets
Ira Brown, playing his third game for the Jets, finished with a team-high 19 points and 12 rebounds, recording his first double-double for his new team. The 41-year-old veteran was unstoppable in the interior, going seven of eight inside the paint.
Stats of the day
Shooting was the biggest story coming out of this game. Chiba Jets shot 46 percent from the field, going 41 percent from beyond the arc.
On the contrary, TNT struggled all night with their shot, hitting just 38 percent in the game, with an abysmal 22 percent from three.
Quotes of the day
TNT Tropang Giga Head Coach Jojo Lastimosa:
Overall comment on the game
"Hats off and congratulations to the home team, the Jets, they played really well.
"When I was asked at half time what are my concerns in the second half, I [said] the stamina is going to be a big question for us. Obviously, we played really well in the first half. We stayed with them, both offense and defense. But, in the second half we lost our stamina."
On TNT's ability to compete in EASL 2023-24
"This time around we have two good imports…great imports, in Rondae Hollis Jefferson and Quincy Miller… That’s the reason why I'm confident this season will be much better than the last time we were here [at EASL Champions Week in March 2023].
"The first season here we were totally outmatched. We only picked up an import two weeks [before]... And the other import we got in… he was actually replaced with Rondae Hollis Jefferson…He didn't want to play any more. So there was a lot of things going on when we came over here.
"We're still missing a lot of guys. Actually, four starters are missing right now. The two from the national team, Ohtana and Pogoy, who is still injured. And our big guy Poy Erram, also part of Gilas [the Philippines national team].
"This is not an excuse. But I feel like with the two imports that we have, we have a better chance of competing here.
"We’re only two weeks in, in our practice and our season in the Philippines won’t start until November 5. So we are two weeks in, and Rondae just came in yesterday without any practice. So there are a lot of things going on also.
"But we will be really good down the stretch if we get in shape."
On travelling to play home and away games:
"Traveling home and away in this situation is different. We dont do that in the Philippines. We dont play home and way in the Philippines, we only play in Manila.
"It’s one thing that we need to adjust to. It’s not something that’s going to affect us totally. It’s going to factor in. That’s the reason we came in here on Monday, to have At least two days to kind of settle down here in Chiba.
"But it’s a situation we are in. We’re not used to that, but we have to get used to it."
On the effect of fans and atmosphere at EASL home and away games:
"We play here in Chiba and we are going up against the [fans] of Chiba only. But if we go to the Philippines…We don’t have any home court in the Philippines. Probably the whole of the people in Metro Manila will be cheering for us. So that’s a huge advantage. And we’re hoping that we will pull in a lot of fans, not only TNT fans, but that the fans of the PBA will be there to cheer for us.
"So I think there’s going to be a major effect in that regard, because we’ll have a lot more cheering for us than over here."
Chiba Jets Head Coach John Patrick
Half-time flash interview - What his team needs to do to win the second half:
"I think if we play better one-on-one defense, we’ll have a good chance. If we move the ball well, we’ll have a good chance. But we have to stop, first of all, Hollis Jefferson and Miller, because they’ve had some easy buckets. And we’ve had some unnecessary turnovers. So it’s a tight game and we have to improve on those areas."
Half-time flash interview - On whether they've faced any surprises during the first game of the EASL 2023-24 season:
"We didn’t know what to expect, so everything is kind of new. It’s TNT’s first game of the season, but they play hard. It’s an intense game and I think it’s good for the fans."