PBA: Coach challenges TerraFirma to step up amid injuries to key players

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2022 05:31 PM

Bonbon Batiller (23) was the latest TerraFirma player to join the injured list. PBA Images.
Bonbon Batiller (23) was the latest TerraFirma player to join the injured list. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- Injuries continue to pile up for the TerraFirma Dyip in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup.

Already without Isaac Go and Ed Daquioag for the rest of the year, the Dyip also lost Bonbon Batiller to a knee injury early in the second quarter of their game against the Converge FiberXers on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"Inaabot tayo ng malas sa injuries," lamented TerraFirma coach Johnedel Cardel, whose team lost to Converge, 97-84, to fall to 0-4 in the conference.

TerraFirma had been hoping for a breakthrough in the All-Filipino, after finally having a healthy Joshua Munzon in the fold along with Juami Tiongson, who is coming off a career year in the PBA's 46th season. 

But it has been a struggle for the Dyip: they lost Go to an ACL tear and Daquioag to a leg fracture. 

There is no diagnosis yet for Batiller, who played just two minutes and 28 seconds in the loss to Converge. He did not return after hurting his knee, but managed to walk off on his own power after the game.

With a handful of their key contributors on the injured list, Cardel said their reserves must be ready to play bigger roles and back up Tiongson and Munzon.

"Sino lang matitira dito sa amin? Si Josh, si Juami. 'Pag pinahinga ko sila, kailangan mag-step up din 'yung shooters namin," said Cardel.

"Malas pa si Juami ngayon [vs. Converge]. Talagang sinabi naman namin sa kanila na you have to step up, kasi hindi laging swerte 'yung Juami Tiongson natin, hindi laging swerte 'yung mga scorer natin," he stressed. 

"Fifteen ang players kako, at lahat kayo importante dito. Maka-shoot kayo ng isang three-points, ang laking bagay na noon."

Against Converge, Cardel got solid games from veterans like Aldrech Ramos (15 points) and Eric Camson (13 points), while Tiongson was limited to 13 markers and Munzon tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists

They also got a lift from Joseph Gabayni, who had a team-best 18 points along with seven rebounds. 

For the coach, however, he still wants to see better performances from their younger players, some of whom will see an uptick in their minutes given their injury situation. 

"I said to the players na this is your time, show up, step up. Dito kayo makikilala eh, kailangan tumulong tayo," he said. "'Yan ang lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila -- be ready. 'Pag hinugot ko sila, be ready to shoot, and be ready to play defense."

TerraFirma will get a chance to earn its first win on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, where they will play Blackwater Bossing.