Lots To Look Forward To: Character-building day sees Raptors Uprising GC split Friday double-header
March 13, 2023
Raptors Uprising GC may have not won both series on the night, but it was an evening that showcased just how exciting this team truly is.
In their first double-header of The Slam Open, Toronto swept aside Pacers Gaming in convincing fashion (21-10, 21-12, 23-18) before a heartbreaking Game 5 saw Raptors Uprising fall 3-1 to Nets GC despite fighting back from two games down (15-22, 17-21, 23-18, 28-26, 15-21).
After three series, Toronto currently holds a 1-2 record with five still to play next week.
It’s never an easy task to bounce back after defeat in a season opener, but for Roy Krishan’s group to come back and sweep the Pacers just two days after falling to NBL Oz Gaming undeniably speaks volumes with regards to the direction this team is heading.
Coming into the series with Indiana, Toronto had an evident fire in their belly not just offensively, but defensively too. Limiting the Pacers offence proved to be a key component in Raptors Uprising taking care of business via a series sweep.
Mooch was the star of the show in the first series of the night, putting up 42 points and seven assists to lead the team in those two categories. Putback and Haam were immense defensively as they notched five combined steals.
With Toronto riding quite some momentum, the squad was ready for an enthralling series with the Nets.
Raptors Uprising may have gotten off to a slow start after dropping Game 1 and 2, but in Game 3, they found their spark.
A 23-18 win saw them claw right back into it, and then in Game 4, Toronto stunned Brooklyn to force a Game 5 in one of the most entertaining Game conclusions so far this tournament.
Despite leveling things up in the series, the Nets secured the win to break Raptors Uprising hearts. The series may have not gone in their favour on paper, but the squad’s heads can be held high after an inspiring display across the board.
Once again, it was Mooch who led the team in scoring, this time with 52 points, while Gazulli, Putback, and Haam were also in double digits with 23, 11, and 10 respectively.
Following the double-header, head coach Roy Krishan reflected on what he felt to be a very positive showing from this new-look Raptors Uprising team.
“When we’re winning, we’re dominating. When we’re losing, we’re making it extremely tough for the opponent,” said Krishan.
“I think there’s a lot to look forward to next week.”
Regarding the victory over the Pacers, Krishnan was jubilant over not just the team’s first win of the season, but also his first win as a head coach.
“It’s always good to get your first one.”
“As soon as we got our first win, you started to see the ball start rolling a little bit and guys got more comfortable…happy we were able to do it convincingly.”
On Mooch’s performance, Krishnan had nothing but praise for Toronto’s star man on the night.
“It doesn’t make sense why he was available to us at [pick] 26.”
“He’s playing like a top five rookie guard in this league, and at the end of the day, big time players make big time plays, and that’s exactly what he did in that Nets series.”
Still a fresh, young team, Raptors Uprising know how difficult the mental game will be over the course of the season, but according to Krishnan, this team has got it in them to stay strong and stay positive.
“With professional athletes, you always have to feel like you’re the best in the world. Whether you’re up 2-0 or down 2-0, momentum is fickle, and these guys fully bought into the lineup change I made when down.”
“Every single one of our guys on this team has that [mindset], and I couldn’t be happier as their coach that we have that resolve.”
Looking ahead to next week, Raptors Uprising GC will take on the Nets and Pacers in a double-header once again on Tuesday, March 14th. This time, Toronto will face Brooklyn to start, with Game 1 of that series scheduled for 6:45pm ET.
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