Juami Tiongson builds confidence with 34-point night in D-League prior to return to PBA
Juami Tiongson scored at will against Phoenix, dropping a game-high 34 points. Jaime Campos

JUAMI Tiongson put on a scoring clinic in his Blustar-KL Dragons debut in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup as he continues to build confidence and gain experience in time for his return to Blackwater in the pro league.

Tiongson dropped 34 points in his first game with the Dragons but his scoring outburst went to waste after they lost to unbeaten Phoenix, 94-97.

Still, it was the best game of Blustar so far in the tournament despite falling to 0-4, and certainly a confidence booster for the Blackwater draftee.

“’Yun din sabi ng boss ko, gain experience tsaka mahasa ako. I’m trying to get my confidence here and at the same time, help them win and gain experience,” said Tiongson, a first-round draft pick in 2014.

But before going back to the PBA, Tiongson is focused on the task at hand, which is to help the Dragons in their Foundation Cup campaign.

[See Daquioag, Tolomia help Phoenix survive scare from Blustar]

Tiongson said the Dragons are starting to get accustomed with the Philippine style of play, one week into their campaign in the D-League. And it definitely showed after they came close to pulling off an upset against Phoenix, the champion of the Aspirants Cup a few months ago.

“Kahit inexperienced kami, we played a very good game kasi championship team ‘yung kalaban namin. Lumaban kami kahit naging physical towards the end. Slowly but surely, nakukuha na namin ‘yung style ng Philippines,” Tiongson said.

Tiongson said he doesn’t find it difficult to play for the Dragons, composed mostly of Malaysian players.

“They speak very good English naman so it’s easy to understand them. One language lang naman ‘yung sinasalita namin. It’s basketball so it’s easy,” said Tiongson.

Looking ahead, Tiongson said he is confident the Dragons will further improve and eventually nab their first win as the games go by.

“Tumaas ‘yung confidence namin tsaka pag naglalaro kami, nag-eenjoy lang kami kasi nothing to lose and no one expects a lot from us. Whatever comes, comes,” said Tiongson.

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