PBA: TerraFirma shocks SMB for first win in PH Cup

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2021 05:28 PM | Updated as of Sep 01 2021 06:16 PM

Juami Tiongson sparked TerraFirma's comeback against San Miguel Beer.
Juami Tiongson sparked TerraFirma's comeback against San Miguel Beer. PBA Media Bureau

(UPDATED) Juami Tiongson netted a new career-high and Eric Camson stepped up late as the TerraFirma Dyip pulled off a shock 110-104 triumph over San Miguel Beer in overtime, Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

It was the first win of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup for the Dyip, who entered the game having lost their first four assignments of the conference.

Tiongson was instrumental in the win, firing a career-best 28 points and sparking the Dyip's comeback from a 16-point deficit in the second half. Camson shone in the extra period, where he scored six of his 13 points. Aldrech Ramos had 17 points before fouling out.

"Going to this game versus San Miguel, this is a very, very tough team," said TerraFirma coach John Cardel. "But I tell the guys, tell the coaches, just one quarter at a time, just maintain 'yung focus on defense. 'Yung offense, patience din naman."

TerraFirma's game plan worked in the first half where they took a slim 42-40 lead heading into the break. But San Miguel pulled away in the third frame, outscoring the Dyip 35-19. A jumper by Terrence Romeo gave the Beermen their biggest lead, 67-51, with under four minutes to go in the period. 

SMB was still comfortably ahead, 86-71, with nine minutes to play in regulation when Tiongson began to wax hot. His triple with four-and-a-half minutes to play cut the deficit to single digits, 90-83, and fittingly, it was also Tiongson who knotted the count at 95 with a jumper at the 44-second mark.

The Beermen had a chance to win in regulation, but June Mar Fajardo bricked two free throws off a Matt Ganuelas-Rosser foul with 24 seconds left. On the other end, Tiongson misfired on a triple as the buzzer sounded, sending the game to overtime. 

In overtime, Camson conspired with Tiongson to carry the Dyip to victory. The big man gave TerraFirma the lead for good, 99-97, off a layup with 3:13 to play. Tiongson added two charities, and after Romeo drilled a triple, he fired a three-pointer of his own to put the Dyip up by four, 104-100, with 2:13 left.

A jumper by Romeo gave San Miguel some hope, but their offense faltered down the stretch and the Dyip were steady at the line to ice the game. 

"Talagang bumagsak ang panalo sa amin," said Cardel. "My players are working hard, kaya nanalo kami. And they really want to win this game versus the strong team."

TerraFirma won despite allowing SMB to shoot over 48% from the field. They limited the Beermen from beyond the arc, however, as San Miguel made just five of 20 three-pointers. The Dyip also got 52 points from their bench against the Beermen's 24.

Romeo finished with 28 points in his first game back since suffering a hyperextended knee in San Miguel's opening game. Fajardo had 18 points and 12 rebounds, but went 4-of-9 at the free throw line. Arwind Santos added 19 points, and Chris Ross had 10 points and nine assists.

CJ Perez, in his first game against his former team, had 10 points, three rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes.

Both teams were missing key players. San Miguel played without Alex Cabagnot, who is nursing an injured left knee. TerraFirma, meanwhile, has lost top overall pick Joshua Munzon for the season, and last year's draft pick, Roosevelt Adams, also sat out the contest. 

San Miguel saw its three-game winning streak snapped, dropping them to 3-2.