By JONAS TERRADO
With Juami Tiongson struggling this time, Terrafirma needed a big fourth quarter surge to extend its miracle run, beating winless Blackwater, 96-84, in the PBA Philippine Cup yesterday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
With Tiongson a marked man the moment he entered the floor, the Dyip had to lean heavily on a numbers of players, primarily Aldrech Ramos, Reden Celda and Andreas Cahilig, to overcome a determined Bossing side and win their third in a row after a 0-4 start.
Ramos topscored with 17 points, Celda scored 15 points spiked by three triples while the scrappy Cahilig put up 12 points and 11 rebounds that enabled the Johnedel Cardel-coached side to move up in solo seventh.
Tiongson was held to 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting, a stark contrast to his big performances in upset victories over San Miguel Beer and defending champion Barangay Ginebra to begin its Bacolor campaign.
Blackwater fell to 0-7 for its 15th consecutive defeat dating back to last year’s Philippine Cup bubble.
The game came hours after the league postponed last season’s Philippine Cup semifinal rematch between Ginebra and Meralco due to health and safety protocols.
Ginebra and Meralco were supposed to face off following yesterday’s opener, but the match will now take place on a date that will later be determined under the strict COVID-19 protocols of the league.
No other details were given but teams are required undergo antigen tests on the morning of their scheduled game.
It was the second time since the restart that the league postponed a match.
San Miguel’s match against Alaska the other day was put on hold in accordance with the league protocols.
The heavyweight clash between TNT and Magnolia pushed through at presstime, but was moved to an earlier tipoff time originally reserved for the Ginebra-Meralco tiff.
Teams are scheduled to take their RT-PCR tests today, including the four teams that had their games shelved and NorthPort which didn’t see action in the first week of the restart.
NorthPort didn’t play in the first five playdates of the resumption because of the same protocols.
The results of the tests will determine the schedule for the second week of the eliminations.
TERRAFIRMA 96 — Ramos 17, Celda, 15, Cahilig 12, Tiongson 10, McCarthy 10, Gabayni 9, Ganuelas-Rosser 9, Camson 4, Laput 4, Adams 3, Calvo 2, Batiller 1.
BLACKWATER 84 — Tolomia 14, Enciso 13, Daquioag 12, Amer 11, Desiderio 11, Nabong 8, Cruz 4, Golla 3, Torralba 3, Dennison 2, Magat 2, Escoto 1, Canaleta 0, Paras 0.
Quarters: 16-22, 39-43, 65-65, 96-84.