ANTIPOLO – Juami Tiongson rediscovered joy in basketball with Terrafirma and that was the very reason why he chose to stay put.
The star guard signed a two-year extension with the Dyip days into the New Year, a move that caught some by surprise considering that offers from other PBA teams and queries from ball clubs overseas came his way.
He became a free agent last January 1 but signed the new deal, reportedly max, just three days after — a decision that’s ‘purely basketball,’ he said.
“It’s fun to be with them. It’s fun to be around them. At the end of the day, basketball is a game, and you’re supposed to have fun with it,” said Tiongson, who received interest from KBL side Seoul Samsung and also from Taiwan.
“And ako talaga, nag-eenjoy talaga ako being around those guys — being with Boss Bobby (Bobby Rosales, team governor]; our manager, Boss Ronald [Tubid], Coach John [Cardel],” the 31-year-old product of Ateneo furthered.
“As in, it’s purely playing basketball. And I enjoy it. And siguro, in a long time na rin, ‘di ko na maalala ‘yung last time na nag-enjoy ako mag-basketball.”
After all, Terrafirma is where Tiongson enjoyed individual success following the long journey he had in his career — a career that almost got cut short.
Once bought out by Blackwater some seven years ago, the Ateneo alum saw himself land on Columbian after being traded by NLEX in 2019, and wasted no time establishing his place as the team’s lead floor general.
Three years later, the 12th overall pick of the 2014 Draft would write his name in the league’s history books after earning Most Improved Player honors.
And definitely, he isn’t resting on his laurels any time soon. Saturday alone saw him almost tie his career-high as he fired 30 points on six treys to power his side to the 96-88 victory to barge into the win column of the conference.
“We have a good team,” said Tiongson shortly after the match. “‘Yung chemistry namin is there. Our brotherhood, on the court, off the court. I told in one of the interviews, ‘yung team nga namin walang factions eh.
“Everyone gets along, everyone hangs out with each other in practice, walang grupo-grupo. It’s fun to play for Terrafima. That’s why I re-signed with them.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.