ANTIPOLO—Juami Tiongson is refusing to take a step back even if Terrafirma already has pieces that include the top overall pick in the draft and a group of upstarts.
“My teammates are always looking at me,” said Tiongson after his 25 points propelled the Dyip to a 97-87 victory over Blackwater for their first win of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at Ynares Center here.
“Sometimes it comes to a fault because I just force my game, offensively, which can be detrimental. But still credit to them for finding me,” added Tiongson, whose performance is an indication that the veteran guard remains Terrafirma’s main man even with the arrival of Stephen Holt, who is being labeled as the team’s savior.
But Tiongson expressed confidence in having plenty of support, going by the way the Dyip performed in splitting the first two games of the tournament is an indication.
Sophomore forward Javi Gomez de Liaño and rookie center Kemark Carino, two players with previous experiences in Japan’s B.League, turned in solid performances which will give coach Johnedel Cardel reason to be hopeful for the rest of the conference.
Holt once again struggled offensively, but his rebounds and assists production, plus a steady defensive job, remains the most impressive thing about the well-traveled PBA neophyte.
Combining that helped Terrafirma take control of the contest before sustaining the lead to bounce back from Friday’s 108-103 loss to NorthPort.
Tiongson had the biggest buckets of the game, including a three-point play after he made a tough shot off a foul from the free throw line that made it a 93-80 lead for the Dyip with just over two minutes to go.
Gomez de Liaño, eager to bounce back from what he also admitted was a rough rookie season, had 17 points and five rebounds while Carino showed his versatility and length for 10 points and nine rebounds.
Import Thomas de Thaey posted 15 points and 12 rebounds while Holt had seven rebounds and five assists as he now works on improving his seven-point output on a 2-of-6 clip on Saturday when Terrafirma faces NLEX at the same venue.
Blackwater, which underwent a massive facelift starting with the hiring of Jeffrey Cariaso as its coach, dropped to 1-2 after a second straight setback.
Import Chris Ortiz had just 15 points and 11 rebounds in leading the Bossing.