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HomeSportDyip have mountain to conquer, and they’re up for it

Dyip have mountain to conquer, and they’re up for it


Juami Tiongson PBA Philippine Cup

Terrafirma Dyip’s Juami Tiongson during a PBA Philippine Cup game

The odds that Terrafirma will be facing when it battles top-seeded San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals this Saturday is not lost on Dyip cornerstone Juami Tiongson.

“The way I see it, it’s like we’re going up against the Avengers, or the Justice League,” the crafty guard told the Inquirer on Friday, referring to the Beermen’s talented roster which they will try to overcome. Not once, but two straight times.

“Yes, we were competitive against them in our last meeting, but the playoffs are different. And we expect them to be aggressive from the jump,” he went on, referring to their April encounter where Terrafirma came oh-so-close at toppling the streaking Beermen in a 113-110 decision.

The Dyip will try to stifle the Beermen—something only Meralco has done in the crown jewel tournament—where the vaunted club is the defending champion. And that chance crops up 3 p.m. at fabled Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

“We’ll have to keep in step with them and give ourselves a chance at the endgame. It’s obviously not going to be easy, but it’ll definitely be fun. A team like that brings out the best in you,” said Tiongson, who will be needing no less than a perfect game from himself and his teammates following an escape act against NorthPort, 104-96, to win the final playoff slot last Wednesday.

New narrative

A win by Terrafirma will force a decider and prolong their first playoff appearance since the 2016 Governors’ Cup. It will somehow also validate the growing narrative that the Dyip have truly become competitive after racking up five victories in the conference.

“Coach John(edel Cardel) reminded us to have fun, play with no pressure and [play as if we’ve got] nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Tiongson, who is also tasting his first postseason action as a pro after helping the Blue Eagles to four crowns during his varsity days at Ateneo in the UAAP.

“The odds are heavily against us, but we have to come into tomorrow’s game and play like we belong. I’m confident in my coaches and teammates,” he said of his team, which also features Rookie of the Year frontrunner and Best Player of the Conference contender Stephen Holt.

“They play with no fear and are also hungry for success. I’ve got [them] and that’s more than enough inspiration for me to play at a high level tomorrow.” INQ Anthony Semerad (left) sends Meralco’s Chris Newsome down with this strong offensive move. —AUGUST DELA CRUZ



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