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Sports

Terrafirma revs up engine

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Terrafirma revs up engine
Terrafirma’s Javi Gomez de Liaño and Isaac Go battle Converge’s Justin Arana for the rebound.
PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines — Ever since Converge entered the PBA last season, the FiberXers have had Terrafirma in a vice grip. Yesterday, the Dyip decided it was enough and pulled free.

Riding on the 1-2 punch of Juami Tiongson and Stephen Holt, the Dyip finally ran over the FiberXers, 107-99, to go off to a winning start in the Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Tiongson, in his usual fiery self, rifled in 30 points, including seven that helped extinguish Converge’s fourth-quarter rally, as top rookie pick Holt turned in 27 markers, 10 rebounds and five steals en route to the breakthrough against the remaining franchise the Dyip hadn’t beaten prior to this.

The FiberXers had won their four previous encounters in as many conferences, five counting their duel in the pre-season PBA on Tour exhibition series.

“First time namin manalo dito sa Converge so we’re happy,” said Dyip coach Johnedel Cardel.

Isaac Go (13), Juan Gomez de Liaño (10) and Gelo Alolino (10) helped out offensively in the opening win that also ended the Dyip’s eight-game skid dating back to the last Commissioner’s Cup.

Holt got things started by dropping nine in the first 12 minutes to help Terrafirma take early control, 27-21. Tiongson took his turn in the second, where his 11-pointer was key in pushing the Dyip to double-digit spreads that reached a high of 23.

Holt shot 14 in the third, where Terrafirma went up by as many as 24, before Tiongson spearheaded the mop-up.

“We started our preparations early, we worked on our shooting skills and nagbunga naman. Even better, naayos namin ang depensa. Kung sa tao-tao, talo kami, malalaki sila. But I think we can do this sa team defense,” said Cardel.

Alec Stockton and Justin Arana showed the way with 18 each for Converge.

Meanwhile, TNT and Blackwater engage today in a clash of opening-day winners also at the Big Dome.

The Tropang Giga shoot for a follow-up to their 108-107 steal over Rain or Shine Friday while the Bossing, 96-93 winner over Meralco, go for two in a row in their 3 p.m. encounter.

The Bolts and the Elasto Painters aim for a quick rebound in their 6:15 p.m. tiff.

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