AMA Titans show they are for real, thanks to solid recruits
With his backup gone, Juami Tiongson was asked by AMA Online Education coach Mark Herrera to embrace the bigger load for the team.
Luckily, the former Ateneo playmaker was more than ready to do so.
Tiongson fired 32 points to carry the Titans to a 94-85 win over Cignal-San Beda on Tuesday, keeping his side unbeaten so far in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.
But for the 25-year-old playmaker, it’s just a matter of AMA sending a message to the rest of the league that the team is indeed for real.
“We really wanted to win this because we want to stay competitive throughout the league. Everyone knows that AMA usually struggles, but we want to make a statement against a strong team in San Beda,” he said.
The Titans played their first game without Diego Dario, who opted to forego playing this conference due to conflicts with his academic schedule.
Despite the lineup changes, Tiongson made it look like Dario’s departure is no problem at all, pouring 12 of his game-high 32 in the fourth, to go with six rebounds and three assists in AMA’s late-game pullaway.
But Tiongson knows Dario’s loss is big for the team.
“He’s experienced and he knows how to play in the D-League. But overall, we’re fine. I have Jeron Teng and Ryan Arambulo here who can score and can bring down the ball.”
With AMA on top of the standings this early, Tiongson believes this is no long the Titans crew which has been one of the developmental league’s whipping boys for the longest time especially with their new recruits.
“Now we have Jeron Teng, Jay-R Taganas, and Ryan Arambulo. So we’re competitive now and we have better players. We know the caliber of this team now,” he said. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity given to me by AMA and I’m making the most out of it. I’m very proud to be part of this team.”
AMA will next face Racal next Tuesday.
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