Juami Tiongson accepts PBA All-Star snub: People don’t like me like that; I’m not that popular
MANILA, Philippines–Despite his sustained fine play this season, Terrafirma’s Juami Tiongson was unable to crack the final pool of standouts for this year’s PBA All-Star Game.
Speaking on the matter for the first time on Saturday night, the 2021 season’s Most Improved Player reached for a stinging reality check to put the issue to bed.
“Let’s be real: People don’t like me like that,” Tiongson told reporters matter-of-factly on the heels of the Dyip’s 125-100 beatdown at the hands of Phoenix.
“Like, I’m not that popular. Guys like me don’t really win things like those. And that’s just the way that it is. No hard feelings.”
After his breakout year, Tiongson remains the Dyip’s foremost weapon and has proven himself one of the few bright spots the club has enjoyed in a challenging season.
And Terrafirma’s struggles this season is also the reason Tiongson feels he doesn’t deserve a spot in the All-Stars.
“[W]e are not winning and we haven’t made the playoffs. Guys on that list, the’ve been making the playoffs consistently. I haven’t,” he said.
Terrafirma is currently 2-5 in the race and is way outside of the qualifying threshold for the next round.
Tiongson has been averaging 23.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists throughout the conference. And some PBA fans on the internet underscored that his numbers are significantly better than several of the names that made the 22-man list from which captains Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar will build their squads.
But he has quite an argument for those who think such way.
“I would say based on my stats, maybe I do deserve [consideration], but at the end of the day it’s for the fans,” he said.“Fans decide who they want to see, the players they want to watch. That’s just about it.”
“Whether I’m an All-Star or not, it doesn’t matter. I have an entirely different kind of motivation within, and it’s not just making the All-Star (selection). There was a time I wasn’t in the league, that I wasn’t even a PBA player. Being on is just a bonus if it ever does even happen,” he added.
For those who bat for his inclusion, Tiongson had this to say.
“I’m appreciative of those who see the hard work I put in my game. With that, I don’t have to be an All-Star anymore. The fact that they notice, that already means a lot to me.”