The Terrafirma Dyip seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.
At 1-11, the Dyip have long been eliminated from the 2022-2023 Honda PBA Commissioner’s Cup and are looking at more or less (Terrafirma was winless in the 2022 Honda PBA Philippine Cup so it’s not a remote possibility) another early exit in the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
The Dyip’s 124-114 overtime win over the NLEX Road Warriors was their sole win thus far this season and that may very well be the highlight for Terrafirma for the entire PBA Season 47. Leading for all except the first minute of the game, the Dyip fended off the Road Warriors’ comeback attempts and sealed the victory with a 14-4 run in the extra period.
Lester Prosper was a man on a mission, as the 34-year old poured on a career-high 50 points in what was a BREAKTHROUGH (all caps intended) win. The naturalized Indonesian big man was taking no chances of letting a winnable game for him and NLEX slip away and maybe this kind of victory could be something Prosper and Terrafirma can take with them following this conference.
Normally the worst team in the league gets the top pick in next season’s PBA draft in order to select the best player available. However, most of the players the Dyip have chosen have one way or another ended up with another team in the PBA or in Roosevelt Adams’ case, overseas. In four out of the last five PBA drafts, Terrafirma earned the first overall pick and among their non-special draft selections, only Joshua Munzon has stayed (although time will tell if he will be on the move as well).
Among the other players on their roster, Alex Cabagnot and Juan Gomez De Liano provide the veteran smarts and the promise of youth that can help give the Dyip some building blocks to work with. Juami Tiongson, who will be a free agent, would be someone worth retaining considering his ability to create for himself and his teammates.
With time between now and the Governor’s Cup, Terrafirma has made mention of plans to address their roster, and while this may come off as new rhetoric, should we expect much from the Dyip? Pictures of Terrafirma’s potential roster had they kept their marquee draft picks have made rounds on social media, while their pathetic record is likely to be a turnoff for prospective free agents unless concrete plans are in place.
One way of doing that would be to decrease the roster turnover both with the Dyip’s rookies and veterans like Tiongson. The longer they stay, the better to establish a system and a culture that gets better with time. Besides, when stability comes, so will the wins and the players that want to be a part of it. Can fans expect a turnaround from Terrafirma? Highly unlikely on the onset, but there is hope that the Dyip can turn it around if they make some impactful moves in between conferences and during the end of the league’s 47th season.
As anyone will tell you, winning in professional sports is hard, but it shouldn’t be as hard as Terrafirma makes it seem. The Dyip haven’t made the PBA postseason (back when Terrafirma was known as the Mahindra Enforcer) since an early exit in the 2016 Oppo-PBA Governors’ Cup Playoffs despite being the fourth seed and having a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Since then, establishing a winning culture has been an absolute pipe dream as the Dyip’s potential franchise cornerstones did that with other teams and won championships along the way. Terrafirma has been a poster child for “What is league parity in the PBA?” and one has to admire the players and the coaching staff for continuing to push despite the losses piling up. That in itself should make them admirable candidates for teams that would maximize those intangible qualities.
Success has largely eluded the Terrafirma Dyip and barring any significant changes, there likely won’t be an end to their slump anytime soon. The answers to the Dyip’s needs and wants are there for the taking, but it’s up to them to actually follow through on those plans and keep the dismal cycle going.