PBA Philippine Cup

Terrafirma benches ‘marked man’ Tiongson, works wonders in 3rd straight win

JR Isaga
Terrafirma benches ‘marked man’ Tiongson, works wonders in 3rd straight win

WIN STREAK. Juami Tiongson and Terrafirma pick up their third straight win after a 0-4 start.

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Knowing Juami Tiongson would be the focus of Blackwater's defense, Terrafirma coach Johnedel Cardel relegates the red-hot guard to a supporting role off the bench

In an unpredictable 2021 PBA Philippine Cup full of postponements, comeback runs, and upset wins, Terrafirma Dyip sniper Juami Tiongson became the talk of the town, and for good reason.

In his last two games, both stunning wins against league giants San Miguel and Ginebra, the former Ateneo stalwart averaged a whopping 29.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.0 rebounds on 48% shooting and a scorching 54% from three.

Terrafirma head coach Johnedel Cardel knew all too well whom the Blackwater Bossing would target in their Sunday, September 5 matchup, so he shuffled his pieces around and relegated Tiongson to a supporting role off the bench.

“Of course Juami is a marked man. They tried to stop him. But I told you, there are some other guys there. I know they still have game, like Red Celda now, he’s the best player. That’s a big thing, and some other players are just there,” he said.

Sure enough the strategy worked wonders, as the Dyip sped away with a 26-8 fourth quarter run for the 96-84 win, their third straight after a 0-4 start to the conference.

In that run, Celda, who finished with 15 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep, conspired with usual cogs Aldrech Ramos and Rashawn McCarthy, while Tiongson just kept attracting the defense all around the perimeter.

“I told them that we have to be a team. Let’s help Juami get open. If the shot isn’t there, Juami will get the ball. He will be the one to decoy. Like now, Celda had a great game so this is big for us.”

Ramos led all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while McCarthy and Tiongson chipped in 10 markers apiece. Andreas Cahilig also got good looks in this game and churned out a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double.

While top pick Roosevelt Adams was limited to just three minutes in his short-lived return, Cardel also heaped praises on his other role players like Joseph Gabayni, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, both of whom added 9 points apiece in the all-around team win.

“I give them confidence. Matt Rosser, I have known him for a long time since his San Miguel days. When he came to me, I told him, this is it, I have a big point guard. He’s a veteran also,” he said.

While next week’s schedule is still uncertain due to more teams being held out due to health protocols, Cardel is just looking to get more momentum to get them out of their cellar-dwelling days.

“Every game is very important. I told them, winning is difficult,” he said. “All teams in the PBA are strong, so we really respect them all. Every time I go in, I really respect our opponents. So we can’t let up, and be complacent.” – Rappler.com

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