Terrafirma was one of the teams that closely monitored the final games of the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup elimination round, for its life depended on the results.
The Dyip had already finished their assignments last Sunday against a worn-out Alaska. And from there, they hoped that the odds would go in their favor by gaining an opportunity to vie for the eighth and final ticket to the quarterfinals.
All those hopes, however, faded when the NorthPort Batang Pier beat the Aces in dominant fashion Thursday night. Had the result turned out otherwise, they would be playing for the no. 8 spot against Phoenix Super LPG.
But, they got booted out due to the quotient system. Despite sharing 4-7 cards with reigning champs Ginebra and the Fuel Masters, Terrafirma held an inferior quotient compared to the former (1.0110) and the latter (1.0281).
“Sayang,” said head coach Johnedel Cardel to Tiebreaker Times a day after the PBA wrapped up the eliminations. “Konting-konti na lang sa puntos, sa quotient.
“Lahat, from the Wednesday games to Thursday’s games, talagang tinutukan namin. Eh ‘yun nga, sabi ko nga, ang hirap mag-rely talaga sa wins or losses ng kalaban … kung talagang papalarin, papalarin,” he added.
It definitely was “sayang” for the Dyip, a team who, at one point, became the netizens’ darlings for their impressive three-game winning streak in the first week of the conference’s resumption at in Bacolor, Pampanga.
That impressive stretch saw them conquer powerhouse squads San Miguel and the Gin Kings, as well as the struggling Blackwater to atone for their first four losses in the early part of the cage wars held in Pasig.
Unfortunately, the run got snapped as they bowed to Phoenix, followed by a couple more losses to the Batang Pier and Meralco.
Cardel admitted that injuries had taken their toll on his team. Already without Joshua Munzon due to a hand injury and with Roosevelt Adams having to deal with a stomach virus early in the semi-bubble, they also lost Andreas Cahilig.
A key figure during their fiery streak, the Fil-Swedish forward went down with an ankle injury against the Fuel Masters and never played since.
“Hirap talaga ‘pag may na-injury kang player, lalo na ‘pag yung player na yun is kailangan na kailangan mo, malaking adjustment talaga,” he said.
Still, Cardel and Co. garnered lots of positives despite falling short for yet another conference. For the cager-turned-mentor, it was still an improvement from last year’s bubble play in Clark, where they went 1-10.
“At least we had a better performance than the last bubble. Siguro not bad for 4-and-7, ‘no, kinapos lang talaga,” he said. “Hopefully itong next conference, kung same pattern pa rin, semi-bubble, sana makausad na kami.”
And for the next conference, the youthful bench tactician simply hopes to have 15 healthy players at his disposal.
“Dapat talaga all the players will be healthy, the fifteen players,” Cardel said. “Kasi katulad niyan, may injuries, siyempre playing with eleven, ten players or maybe nine players, it’s very hard to win.
“Kasi lahat sila kailangan especially ‘yung malalaking minuto. ‘Pag nawala sa’yo ‘yun, malaking adjustment. So we have to be healthy, all fifteen.”