The Rundown From Friday’s PBA: ‘Magic’ Tiongson Strikes Again

For the second consecutive time, the Terrafirma Dyip again grabbed the lion’s share of the headlines in Friday’s 2021 PBA Philippine Cup games. If you missed the games, here’s a quick rundown to get you updated.

Original photo via PBA Images

‘Magic’ Tiongson delivers the goods

Terrafirma defeated Barangay Ginebra for the first time in franchise history behind Tiongson, who was also the hero in the team’s previous win over the San Miguel Beermen. The 30-year-old guard reset his career-high with 31 points built on a sizzling 9-15 clip from the three-point line.  

Coming off a 28-point performance against the Beermen, Tiongson was still riding a good momentum as he buried two straight triples right from the get-go. But it wasn’t just scoring that the 30-year-old combo guard excelled at, as he also had a game-high six assists. Tiongson’s improvement as a playmaker was highlighted by one play that proved to be the dagger to the hearts of Ginebra.

With only less than a minute remaining and Terrafirma holding on to a precarious three-point lead, Tiongson had the ball in his hands as he used an Eric Camson pick to try to evade the defense of Scottie Thompson. However, Ginebra big man Christian Standhardinger iced the pick, forcing Tiongson to the baseline, which is always a difficult situation for any ball-handler. But the Terrafirma lead guard didn’t get rattled and threw a skip pass to the wide-open Rashawn McCarthy, who drained the triple to push the team’s lead to six.

Tiongson had his share of disappointments in the past, but one thing that has always been noticeable about him is his calm and collected demeanor on the court. Now that his ball-handling, shooting, and passing are coming around, Tiongson is trying to establish himself as one of the better guards in the league. In fact, the numbers might already say that he is.

Per Stats by Ryan, an advanced stats platform for Philippine basketball, Tiongson is accumulating an excellent 10.3 rating in box creation (BoxCr), a metric that combines scoring, shooting, and playmaking to measure how many scoring opportunities a player creates for his teammates (Learn more about BoxCr here). That figure ranks second, only trailing NLEX Road Warriors star Kiefer Ravena in that department.

Next up for Tiongson and Terrafirma is a much-easier assignment against the Blackwater Bossing. It’s an excellent opportunity to notch three wins in a row, and catapult themselves to the middle pack of the standings.

TNT’s defense lives up to its billing

Last September 2, we released a preview of the Meralco-TNT match-up, a battle that pitted the current top two teams in the league. Both of these teams racked up wins through their tremendous defense, but one thing that TNT has been good at is how they force the opposing teams’ best players to have bad games.

That’s exactly what the Tropang Giga did in their lopsided 91-76 win over the Bolts. Meralco just struggled to get into a groove on offense, and their 23 turnovers did them a lot of damage. In their previous win against Magnolia. Meralco stars Mac Belo and Chris Newsome had 22 and 14 points, respectively. Against TNT last night, they combined for only 11 points and seven turnovers.

TNT’s defense held Meralco to only 26 total points at the end of the first half, and the game was almost already decided at that point. Prized rookie Mikey Williams had his best game as a PBA player as he finished with a game-high 27 points, including five hits from beyond the arc to lead the Tropang Giga to their fifth-straight win.

TNT grabbed the pole position heading into the second half of the eliminations, while Meralco (5-2) dropped to third place in the standings. 

Magnolia rebuilds confidence

Coming off a gut-wrenching loss to Meralco in their previous assignment, Magnolia made sure that they secured the win this time around. It was a close battle in the first two quarters, but Magnolia cruised in the second half to carve a 94-78 victory over the Blackwater Bossing.

All of the Hotshots’ key cogs contributed in the win with Ian Sangalang and Mark Barroca tallying 16 markers apiece, and Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva finishing with 15 and 14 points, respectively. The surprise performer for Magnolia in this win was rookie Jerrick Ahanmisi, who fired off three triples on his way to 12 points off the bench. Ahanmisi, a proven shooter during his collegiate days with the Adamson Falcons in the UAAP, has finally found his shot after struggling a bit in his first few games.

This win was a much-needed one for the Hotshots, especially heading into a powerhouse match-up against the undefeated Tropang Giga this Sunday. 

Advanced Stats are now available for Philippine basketball! Through Ryan Alba’s Stats by Ryan, you can now look at team and player advanced stats for the current 2021 PBA Philippine Cup via the Dribble Media website.

Also, check out this glossary for a list of the basketball advanced stats terminologies.

You can also contact Ryan Alba via his Twitter handle (@_alba__).

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