ANTIPOLO CITY—Almost every Terrafirma player came out of their dugout looking like they didn’t know what hit them in the PBA Reinforced Conference on Saturday—Juami Tiongson most of all.
“Makapanalo lang (We just need one win),” Tiongson said after the Dyip dropped a 91-85 decision to NorthPort at Ynares Center here, failing to snap what is already the second-longest skid in PBA history.
“I used to tell the team to just enjoy the game and who knows? We might get a win. But now, at the end of the day, we need to win,” Tiongson said after the Dyip skidded to their 25th straight loss, ninth straight in this tournament alone.
“We just need one win to snap the losing skid and give our team a boost,” Tiongson added.
Terrafirma’s current slump is next only to Blackwater, who owns one of the league’s murkiest records: A 29-game slide that ran between 2020 and the 2021-22 Governors’ Cup.
And at 0-9, coach Johnedel Cardel’s team was officially eliminated from the quarterfinal race with three games to play—NLEX on Nov. 18, San Miguel Beer on Nov. 23 and Phoenix on Nov. 26. If Terrafirma drops all three matches, it won’t match Blackwater’s slump this conference, giving the team time to regroup for the season-ending tournament.
Terrafirma last won in February when it contributed to Blackwater’s skid, which at the time was stretched to 25 in a row. Interestingly, the Dyip had to erase a big deficit to deny the Bossing’s bid to end their misery.
Nine months later, the tables were turned on Terrafirma as NorthPort engineered a comeback in the fourth led by Arvin Tolentino, who finished with a career-high 31 points.
Roi Sumang, William Navarro and Prince Ibeh also contributed for the Batang Pier, who entered the fourth down 71-64 and began their furious windup in the final five minutes when they were behind, 81-78.
One of the key plays came when Tiongson got swiped by Robert Bolick that started a transition and ending with William Navarro converting a left-handed dunk for 89-83, 44 ticks to go.
“If I had executed better, maybe we had a better chance of winning,” rued Tiongson of his turnover.
NorthPort won for the second straight time to go 5-5 and within the top eight spots with Converge and Barangay Ginebra left on its slate.
“If we caught Terrafirma playing its best game, then we could have been in trouble,” Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio said in Filipino. INQ
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