<
>

Terrafirma Dyip coach John Cardel likes team's chances in the bubble

Terrafirma Dyip coach John Cardel believes the PBA restart at the Clark Freeport Bubble gives the Dyip a chance at making the playoffs.

With San Miguel playing without six-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo in the bubble as he is still recovering from an injury, and the rest of the teams still trying to find ways to get back into shape after a long layoff, Cardel hopes their youth and speed can somehow be their ticket to the playoffs.

"We know that every team is somehow in an equal playing field due to the (COVID-19) situation. Every team is undergoing twice-a-day practice and every team spends two hours a day in practice. But we all know that San Miguel, Magnolia, TNT and Alaska are solid teams while for us, we simply will try to work hard and make the quarterfinals," Cardel told ESPN5 on Tuesday.

Six days since the six-year-old PBA franchise started team practice at the Angeles University Foundation gym, Cardel noted some marked improvement in the players as they slowly work their way back into shape.

"Like other teams, we've been practicing two times a day, hitting the weights gym and then court practice. Everyone's very eager to practice when we finally got back on the court on October 1," Cardel explained.

Though a number of players were left huffing and puffing during the first few days of team practice, Cardel is happy to see his charges improve since.

The extra week of practice gives Terrafirma more time to jell and work on their timing before making their much-awaited debut in the PBA restart on Oct. 13.

Cardel noted that last season's top rookie awardee CJ Perez hardly missed a beat with the energy and passion he has displayed thus far.

"Watching CJ practice, it seems like he wasn't coming from the lockdown," Cardel said, noting the 26-year-old former NCAA MVP reported to the team's practice in good condition.

Cardel said Perez, who is coming off the 2019 season with Mythical First Team and PBA All-Defensive team citations, will be assuming the lead role for the young and hungry Dyip quintet.

"I have no doubt his confidence is very high especially with several awards he got after his rookie year. I've also seen him improve on his three-point shooting, too. Definitely, he'll be the team's leader," he added.

The 2018 PBA top rookie pick averaged awe-inspiring numbers of 23.18 points, 8.09 rebounds, 3.45 assists and 2.45 steals in over 39 minutes in last season's Governors' Cup. He also shot 34.2 percent from three-point distance.

Expected to provide solid support for Perez are McCarthy and the 2019 top rookie draft selection Roosevelt Adams, while veterans Eric Camson, Aldrech Ramos, Keith Agovida and Reden Celda will supply the much-needed support.

McCarthy normed 14.45 points, 4.82 rebounds, 3.27 assists and 1.27 steals in the season-ending conference, while Adams will add further speed and excitement for Terrafirma, which is determined to make the playoffs in the PBA restart.

Adams is out to prove he deserves to be the no. 1 pick in last year's draft since being named the MVP of the 2019 Gatorade Draft Combine last December.

The cat-quick Adams played for Go for Gold in the PBA D-League as well as Mighty Sports in various international competitions. The athletic six-foot-five Adams can score in bunches and provide solid defense for Terrafirma.