PBA: TerraFirma holds on to upset Meralco

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2023 06:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2023 07:38 PM

Juami Tiongson starred in TerraFirma's upset of Meralco. PBA Images.
Juami Tiongson starred in TerraFirma's upset of Meralco. PBA Images.

MANILA (UPDATED) - TerraFirma recorded its first win of the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup in thrilling fashion, holding on for a 96-88 triumph over the Meralco Bolts on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Juami Tiongson led the way for the Dyip, finishing one point shy of his career-best with 30 points on top of three rebounds, three assists and a steal in 33 minutes. He made six of his nine three-point attempts, and nailed two free throws in the final seven seconds that iced the win.

Import Jordan Williams backed him up with 29 points, eight rebounds, five steals, and three assists, and got away with his six turnovers. Eric Camson came off the bench for 13 points and 10 rebounds — four of which came on the offensive end.

"The last game, we had a good start but sa third quarter nag-relax kami," said TerraFirma coach Johnedel Cardel, referring to their 130-115 loss to TerraFirma in their first game of the conference. "This time sabi ko, we had a good start and in the second, third quarter, pinush ko sila."

Tiongson and Williams combined for 13 points in the third quarter wherein the Dyip built some separation, 72-65. Their lead ballooned to 17 points, 86-69, thanks to back-to-back three-pointers by Alex Cabagnot and Tiongson with under eight minutes to play in the contest.

But the Bolts pounced on TerraFirma's inability to defend without fouling, with Aaron Black and Bong Quinto earning trips to the line to cut into the deficit. A split by Black made it a six-point game, 90-84, with still 1:25 left. 

Unfortunately for Meralco, they could not complete defensive possessions on the other end, with TerraFirma's offensive rebounding earning them second chances. The Bolts paid for their failure to control the boards when Camson grabbed a rebound off his own missed three-pointer, and sped past Chris Newsome for a layup that pushed them ahead, 92-84, with just 23.9 seconds to go.

Buckets by Newsome and import KJ McDaniels came too late for Meralco, as Williams and Tiongson converted their charities to keep the Bolts at bay.

It was the first loss of the Governors' Cup for the Bolts after a 2-0 start; the result kept them from claiming solo first place in the league standings. TerraFirma improved to 1-1.

McDaniels led Meralco with 29 points and 19 rebounds, though he also committed six turnovers. Black had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the losing effort.

The Scores:

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

QUARTERS: 24-26, 52-50, 72-65, 96-88.