JUAMI Tiongson’s bid to play in the PBA suffered a blow when he injured his right ankle following a freak accident while alighting from the Blackwater Sports team bus in Penang, Malaysia.
The former Ateneo Blue Eagles guard was supposed to join the Elite’s practice at the Han Chiang Stadium as they prepare for the 2014 Penang Chief Minister Cup Invitationals.
“Pababa na po ako ng bus. Hindi ata ako napansin nung driver tapos sakto pong nakababa na 'yung kaliwang paa ko, biglang umandar `yung bus. Kaya medyo napilipit po ang kanang paa ko,” said Tiongson, a rookie prospect for Blackwater, which makes its debut in time for the 40th season of the PBA this October.
Unlike in the Philippines, vehicles in Malaysia are right-hand drive.
“OK naman po ako, hindi naman po malala pero kailangan pong bantayan kasi baka mauwi sa severe sprain,” he added.
Tiongson is still uncertain if he can play for the team’s opening game versus Singapore on Friday.
“We have to assess his situation. Kasi mahirap ipuwersa kung may injury talaga. Kawawa 'yung bata, career niya yan,” said Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac.
“Pero looking at his situation, mukhang hindi naman ganun kalala,” he added.
Blackwater Sports therapist Feliteo 'Ted’ Basijan is currently monitoring the injury of Tiongson, who is acknowledged as one of the team’s most promising guard prospects.
“Inaalagaan ko na po ng therapy. Maga po kasi eh,” said Basijan.
Team governor Silliman Sy was all praises for Tiongson, who the team invited to join the Blackwater pool after he took a year off from basketball and devoted his time to his studies.
“Magaling ang bata na 'yan. Very promising. Napakataas ng basketball IQ. Parang JV Casio and LA Tenorio combined,” said Silliman, younger brother of Ever Bilena president Dioceldo Sy.
“Shooting lang talaga ang downside ng laro niya. Hindi pa kasi ganun ka-accurate. So we expect him to hone that here in Malaysia,” he added.
Before he took a sabbatical from basketball, Tiongson was a key player in Ateneo’s run of five championships in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Tiongson capped his three season campaign with the Eagles with impressive numbers of 10.86 points, 2.93 rebounds, and 2.21 assists per game while acting as chief back-up to Emman Monfort.
Blackwater is using the Penang cage meet as part of its buildup for the coming PBA season. The event is a five-day, six-nation tournament.