Tasked to backstop an almost all-Malaysian squad, Filipino guard Juami Tiongson hit the ground running as he showcased his worth in his debut for the Blustar Detergent Dragons.
Tiongson dazzled on Wednesday for the Blustar, providing an all-around game in an import-like output of 34 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists with 2 steals in 32 minutes only to falter at the end against a formidable Phoenix Accelerator side in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
Still, despite absorbing their third straight loss, Tiongson remains positive as the Dragons were already able to give a scare to the last two champion squads of the tourney.
“Slowly but surely, nakukuha na nila ‘yung style of play in the Philippines kasi syemprei bang brand of basketball sa Malaysia,” said the former Ateneo guard on the Dragons.
“Tumaas yung confidence namin, actually pag naglalaro kami, nag-eenjoy lang kami, parang there’s nothing to lose kasi no one expects a lot from us kasi syempre bago lang ‘yung team na ‘to,” he continued.
Missing the first 2 games due to a swollen left arm, Tiongson was one of the 2 local players tapped by Blustar management to guide them in their first stint here in the country, alongside big man Christian Palma.
It was not an unfamiliar territory though for Tiongson as he shrugged off any language or cultural barrier problem with his Malaysian teammates.
“They speak very good English so it’s easy for me to understand tapos one language naman ‘yung sinasalita namin, it’s basketball,” he said. “It’s not hard, they are very humble, very nice, sabihan mo lang sila, they listen right away, walang pride, walang ego.”
For Tiongson, being the on-court leader for the team is his golden opportunity to get his groove back on track and ultimately move back to the PBA.
“To gain experience, para mahasa ako, and I’m trying to gain my confidence here tsaka at the same time trying to help them win and gain experience here,” he shared. – By Jason Mercene
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