The Terrafirma Dyip’s 110-104 upset win against the San Miguel Beermen dominated the headlines in the return of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday and rightfully so. Here are three things that you might have missed from yesterday’s triple-header.
Tiongson shows what he’s made of
Terrafirma had every reason to bow out of their contest against the more-favorited San Miguel Beermen. First, they played without Joshua Munzon and Roosevelt Adams, who are two of their best players in this conference. They went toe-to-toe in the first half, but we all know that the Beermen have a history of turning it up a notch coming out of the halftime huddle. That’s exactly what happened, as San Miguel outscored Terrafirma 35-19 after the break. Terrence Romeo was playing well all game long, and he and his teammates were poised to break away from Terrafirma in the payoff period.
But the Dyip came up with a run of their own, with Juami Tiongson spearheading the comeback. Aldrech Ramos, Rashawn McCarthy, Eric Camson, and Philip Cahilig all came up with timely baskets in the fourth quarter, but it was Tiongson’s steady shooting and playmaking that stole the show.
Tiongson finished the game with 28 points and 7 assists, and committed only one turnover the whole game. You can’t ask more from a player tasked to lead his team in both scoring and creating opportunities for his teammates. He didn’t get rattled and was making the right decisions with the ball.
Tiongson surprised a lot of people with his fine play, but there’s no doubt that he was poised to have a game like this. Per Stats by Ryan, an advanced stats platform for Philippine basketball, Tiongson is accumulating an excellent 7.1 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 ranks him sixth in box creation, just behind established guards Kiefer Ravena, Chris Newsome, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, and Kevin Alas.
The 30-year-old combo guard is not just putting up the buckets — he’s also setting up his teammates with easy opportunities to score. Tiongson has been an underrated scorer and playmaker in the past couple of seasons, but that won’t be the case after this career game that came against a powerhouse San Miguel squad.
By all means, Juami Tiongson deserved the spotlight on Wednesday.
The Bolts are for real
With a thrilling 95-94 comeback victory over the previously-unbeaten Magnolia, Meralco jumped to solo second place in the standings with a 5-1 record. Finding themselves trailing 93-80 with two minutes left, the Bolts went to the full-court press and they succeeded in forcing the Hotshots to consecutive turnovers.Chris Newsome then put on the finishing touches with a crucial triple to cut the deficit to one, and then followed it up with a lefty lay-up to beat the buzzer and win the game.
Newsome’s game-winner grabbed the headlines in the Meralco win, but let’s not overlook what Mac Belo and Cliff Hodge did to keep their team in the game. The newly-acquired Belo led the team in scoring with 22 points, made all his five trips to the free throw line, and did not commit a single turnover. On the other hand, Hodge hauled in a double-double of 18 points and 11 boards, and missed only three of his eleven attempts from the field.
We said before that the Bolts’ true potential will be tested heading into this game. Despite booking a ticket to the Finals twice in the past five years, Meralco is still viewed as a mid-tier team when compared to the likes of Ginebra, San Miguel, TNT, or Magnolia. But after how they hacked out this incredible win against a Hotshots team that handily won all four of its previous games, the Bolts may prove to be a difficult team to put away in the playoffs.
Next up for the second-seeded Meralco is the TNT Tropang Giga, who are undefeated in four games. It’s really a tough restart schedule for the Bolts, but testing themselves against the top-tier teams early in the eliminations is the best way to sharpen themselves moving forward.
Balanced scoring for the still-undefeated TNT
In TNT’s 96-76 romp of Blackwater, rookie Mikey Williams had a slightly-better performance than his previous two games. He scored a team-high 16 points, but he only made two of his eight tries from beyond the arc. There’s still more to ask from the 6-foot-2 combo guard in terms of his shooting efficiency, but it’s already obvious that he’s an integral part of the Tropang Giga’s offense.
The usual suspects, RR Pogoy and Jayson Castro, put up 13 and 11 markers, respectively. But what stood out in this win is that ten of their players scored at least seven points. Almost every TNT player added solid contributions on offense, including Dave Marcelo and Kib Montalbo, who both tallied nine points off the bench. However, there’s also the fact that these performances came against a lowly Blackwater defense that is giving up a second-worst 93.0 points to their opponents.
Still, a good shooting display from TNT’s role players should give them added confidence heading into their next contest against Meralco. The Tropang Giga was expected to cruise past Blackwater, and that’s exactly what they did.
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__).