<
>

Terrafirma Dyip's playoff chances hinge on team's last two games

John Cardel is hoping the Terrafirma Dyip step up in their last two games of the elimination round. PBA Media Group

Terrafirma coach John Cardel isn't crying over spilled milk following the team's back-to-back losses last week that suddenly created a dent in the Dyip's playoff hopes in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.

Instead, Cardel wants his troops to look forward to their last two games in the eliminations as they try to revive their playoff hunt.

"Everybody will have to step up. We can't do anything about it (back-to-back losses) already," Cardel told ESPN5 in Filipino. "We can't afford just two or three players stepping, but we need everyone to do their part when given a chance to play."

At the moment, Terrafirma occupies 10th spot in the standings with a 3-6 record, just half a game behind defending champion Barangay Ginebra.

Underrated forward Andreas Cahilig was the missing link in Terrafirma's defeats to Phoenix and NorthPort this past week after twisting his left ankle in the first half of their game versus the Fuel Masters.

The 6-foot-3 Cahilig, undoubtedly the team's energizer bunny, left the game prematurely after contributing four points, three rebounds and one block. Terrafirma went on to lose that one, 96-84, its three-game win streak coming to an abrupt end.

Two days later, the Dyip got badly beaten after a slow first-quarter start as NorthPort went on to post an easy 104-84 victory.

"Cahilig's loss was a huge one for the team because he averaged close to 10 rebounds for us in our three straight wins," explained Cardel. "We got out-rebounded in our last two games and his loss left a big hole for us in the middle."

Adding to the team's woes was recent revelation Juami Tiongson's shooting struggle.

Heading to the Phoenix game, the former Ateneo guard averaged 23.0 points spiked by 15 triples, along with 5.3 assists, 3.0. rebounds and 2.0 steals in Terrafirma's three consecutive wins.

Those numbers though vanished in their losses to Phoenix and NorthPort.

"Juami was apologizing for not being able to help the team, but I just gave him some shooting tips and what he can do to adjust because we all know the defense adjusted well on him in our last two games," shared the 51-year-old Dyip coach.

As it now stands, TNT is the first to secure a playoff spot with its near-perfect 8-1 record.

Meralco, Terrafirma's next opponent late this week, is at second spot with its 5-2 card followed by Magnolia (6-3).

Should Cahilig fail to play, Cardel is hopeful that rookie big man James Laput will step up to the plate and provide the defensive presence and rebounding they need in their last two games.