Jan 25, 2023

Cardel optimistic as Terrafirma battles Converge

AFTER narrowly averting a shutout in the last conference Terrafirma now looks forward to making a splash in the PBA Governors Cup, starting with Converge Thursday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

"Hopefully, this conference makadali," said coach Johnedel Cardel on the eve of the match.

By Cardel's own admission, his Dyip are sure to have their hands full against the FiberXers, who are still on a high following a 122-92 demolition job on NorthPort in their conference opener last Sunday.

Despite the lopsided win, helped along by import Ethan Rusbatch's 17 points and nine rebounds, Converge still decided to bring in Jamaal Franklin as reinforcement in time for the Terrafirma game.

Cardel and his crew remain unfazed and even look forward to the match.

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"Sana makauna para maiba naman ang atmosphere," said Cardel, whose team has lost 25 straight before snapping out of its funk with a 124-114 overtime victory over NLEX last Nov. 18, somewhat softening the impact of a 1-11 record in the last Commissioner's Cup and another last place finish.

What adds to Cardel's optimism are the good team practices Terrafirma has had, led by import Jordan Williams.

"Exciting player, eh. Hindi siya suwapang yun ang maganda. First time kong magkaroon ng import na ganito. Soft-spoken and magaling siya pero hindi niya ipinagyayabang na magaling siya. Jordan is a team player. Naturalized ng Mexico. High-flying, mahaba, mapayat pero malakas ang katawan," said Cardel.

"Kaya mga locals ko they really like 'yung import. Mga ganadong maglaro and positive sila lahat."

Aside from Juami Tiongson, Alex Cabagnot, Aldrech Ramos, Phillip Cahilig and Isaac Go, Cardel also expects Kevin Ferrer, acquired from NorthPort for Joshua Munzon last Jan. 12, to make big contributions.

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"Si Kevin malaking bagay. Maganda rin ine-ensayo niya sa amin kaya 'yung mga datihan sa team tuwang-tuwa rin sa kanya," related Cardel. "Kahit papaano beterano na siya kaya 'yung presence niya boost din."

How to translate that enthusiasm into game, especially against Converge, is what Cardel and his staff have been working on. "Parang college basketball sila pero ready na rin kami," he said. (NC)