LA Tenorio and JV Casio combined.
That’s how Blackwater sees a gem of a rookie guard in Juami Tiongson, who the franchise expects to emerge as one of its top players when it makes its PBA debut this season.
No less than team owner Dioceldo Sy attested Tiongson has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Tenorio, the top Barangay Ginebra playmaker and fellow Ateneo alumnus of Juami.
“I think I am seeing a bright future for our team, and Juami is one of the silver linings,” said Sy, the same man who brought Fil-foreign players Asi Taulava and Jimmy Alapag here to play for Blue Detergent in the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL).
Coach Leo Isaac is also profuse with praise for Tiongson, the 12th overall pick in the last PBA Draft.
“Batang (JVee) Casio yan. Made-develop yan into a young Casio. Posible. Malaki ang pag-asa. Actually, I am seeing him pa nga as a combination of LA Tenorio and JV Casio,” said Isaac.
“Kasi si Casio, basically, outside shooting ang forte. Itong Juami may drive. Umaatake sa basket. Parang si LA, tapos palaban din ito. Hindi takot makipagpalitan ng mukha. Nakita namin yan sa Penang, Malaysia nung dumayo kami.”
Sy added he sees Tiongson becoming one of the top guards in the league in the near future.
“He never fails to amaze me. His level of skills is electrifying, his basketball IQ is very impressive. Not to mention `yung shooting skills niya. You should never leave him open,” said the amiable Ever Bilena Cosmetics big boss.
“Juami also has the ability to play around the defense. He can attack the basket and he can also pull up for jumpers even under duress, his step-back jumpers will surprise everyone,” added Sy.
Tiongson emerged as Blackwater’s most consistent player in its campaign in the Penang Chief Minister’s Cup in Malaysia where he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game.
Watch a video of Tiongson's highlights:
Isaac also takes pride in the work ethic of the 23-year-old cager from Mandaluyong, disclosing that Tiongson is usually the first to arrive and the last one to leave the team’s training facility at the SGS gym in Araneta Avenue, Quezon city.
“Gusto ko ang work ethic. Maganda ang habit sa practice, maaga dumating. Di pa dumadating `yung iba niyang kakampi, siya nagi-individual practice na. Tapos after practice nagpapa-iwan pa,” said the former Ginebra guard.
“Mukhang may gustong patunayan."
Norman Black, Tiongson’s former coach at Ateneo, is also positive the rookie guard will attain success in his pro career.
“Juami should be a solid player in the PBA especially since he is going to a team where he will be given a chance to play,” said Black, who won five UAAP championships with Ateneo, a couple of them with Tiongson around.
“He certainly has the upper body strength and the ability to stretch the floor with his outside shooting. Just like any rookie point guard, he will just have to adjust to the speed and quickness that the guards have in the league.”
Blackwater’s veteran shooter Sunday Salvacion also has nothing but praise for the young guard.
“Ipagpatuloy lang ni Juami ang disiplina niya sa sarili, I think sisikat siya. Mahusay. Isa siya sa mga possible surprise talent ng 2014 draft,” said Salvacion.