The Terrafirma Dyip have won three straight games and they have put the PBA on notice.
After losing their first four games of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, the sudden break in the middle of the conference due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila seems to have done wonders for the suddenly red-hot Dyip.
In their first three games since the resumption of action this week at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga, Terrafirma caught the league off guard with three consecutive wins over a five-day stretch. This is the same franchise that went 1-10 in last year’s edition of the Philippine Cup and their inspiring play over this past week has been the talk of the PBA.
What makes their run even more impressive is that the two initial victories were against the last two Philippine Cup winners, the San Miguel Beermen (110-104) and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (95-90), and they have played without Roosevelt Adams and Joshua Munzon–the two most recent PBA number one overall picks.
Seven-year PBA veteran Juami Tiongson carried the load for this scrappy team in those first two wins as he put up the best two-game stretch of his PBA stint. In the game against the star-studded Beermen, Tiongson put up a career-high 28 points, seven assists, and three steals as he outdueled Terrence Romeo who had 28 points and six assists of his own.
The match with the reigning champion Ginebra was an even better one for Tiongson as he upped his personal-best to 31 points while he also recorded nine threes, six assists, and three steals. He has played at a level that has not been seen since his days as an ADMU Blue Eagle in the UAAP a decade ago and he has taken firm command of the driver’s seat for the Dyip.
Aside from his gaudy numbers, the leadership and calm demeanor of the 5’10 Tiongson have allowed his teammates–most of whom are PBA journeymen–to thrive alongside him too.
Terrafirma’s starting forward Aldrech Ramos, who has already been traded five times since entering the league as the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, has averaged 15 points per game over their string of wins.
The 6’4 Matt Ganeulas-Rosser has also played a crucial role for them as a versatile defender off the bench after hardly seeing playing time during his stints with the powerhouse TNT and San Miguel franchises. His fellow reserves Rashawn McCarthy and Eric Camson have played crucial roles as well off the bench and are finally in the league’s spotlight following several years of relative anonymity.
The confidence of this team following their two monumental wins was evident in their most recent triumph over the winless Blackwater Bossing. Terrafirma saw five players (Ramos, Reden Celda, Philip Cahilig, Tiongson, and McCarthy) score in double digits as they pulled off a 96-84 win.
This recent string of success for the seven-year-old franchise has been a feel-good story for a league that has been hard hit by the pandemic, but the surprising Dyip do not seem ready for this Cinderella story to end. Their 3-4 record has them at seventh in the standings above the usually-competent Ginebra, Alaska Aces, and Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters. Terrafirma is in a decent position to make the playoffs and if their recent play is any indication, this is a team that will go down swinging.
This roster is full of feisty players who are fighting not just for wins, but possibly even the privilege of remaining in the PBA, and for that reason alone, they can never truly be written off. Everyone, especially Filipinos, loves a good underdog story, and this Terrafirma team’s three-game winning streak has been an exciting and uplifting development in a time when everyone out there could use that extra ounce of positivity.