ANTIPOLO – Terrafirma showed that it is capable of finishing matches after stunning the erstwhile-unbeaten Meralco, 96-88, for its first win in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup, Saturday night at the Ynares Center here.
Eric Camson nailed the dagger with 23.4 seconds left, outhustling Chris Newsome to clean up his own miss and make it an eight-point spread as the Dyip went on to deny the Bolts of capturing sole leadership of the standings.
That shot, furthermore, typified the team’s progress from their blowout loss to Converge the last time out, where they led by seven in the third quarter but failed to protect as much and eventually bowed to a 130-115 decision.
“Sabi ko nga, kung kailangan ko silang sampalin, sasampalin ko para magising,” quipped head coach Johnedel Cardel. “Pero ‘di ko sinampal.”
Juami Tiongson powered Terrafirma with 30 points on six three-pointers, just one point shy of tying his career-high he set back in 2021.
His last triple of the match pushed their lead to 17, 86-69, with 7:52 left to play, before the fightback attempt of the opposition that eventually fell short and enabled the Dyip to snap a seven-game skid against the Bolts.
Jordan Williams finished with 29 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and five steals, while Camson supplied 13 markers and 10 boards in the win.
“We have a good team,” Tiongson said. “‘Yung chemistry namin is there. Our brotherhood, on the court, off the court. I said 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. So it’s fun to play for TerraFirma. That’s why I re-signed with them.”
The Dyip will now hope to carry over the momentum when they go up against San Miguel Beer on Friday, February 3, 3 p.m. in the same venue.
KJ McDaniels, meanwhile, had 29 points and 19 rebounds to lead Meralco in their first loss after starting the conference with a pair of wins.
Newsome had 13 points, Aaron Black registered his own double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Allein Maliksi added 11 markers.
The trio, together with Bong Quinto, sparked the Bolts’ late-game rally but could only get to as near as six points as they couldn’t maximize their chances from the free throw line, making just five of their eight bonuses in the last 4:32.
Meralco will have a week of rest before taking on Blackwater next Saturday, February 4, 6:45 p.m. also at Ynares Antipolo.
Terrafirma 96 – Tiongson 30, Williams 29, Camson 13, Cabagnot 8, Ferrer 5, Calvo 4, Alolino 3, Cahilig 2, Gabayni 2, Ramos 0, Gomez de Liano 0, Mina 0.
Meralco 88 – McDaniels 29, Newsome 13, Black 12, Maliksi 11, Quinto 9, Hodge 6, Banchero 6, Jose 2, Almazan 0.
Quarterscores: 24-26, 52-50, 72-65, 96-88.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.