Terrafirma drops 25th straight as NorthPort wins behind Tolentino’s career high

Arvin Tolentino’s career night for NorthPort left Terrafirma glued to its losing streak. —PBA PHOTOS

ANTIPOLO CITY—Almost every Terrafirma player came out of their cage looking like they didn’t know what hit them in Saturday’s PBA Sponsorship Conference—Juami Tiongson most of all.

“Makapanalo lang (We just need one win),” Tiongson said after Dyip dropped a 91-85 decision to NorthPort at the Ynares Center here, failing to snap what is already the second-longest streak in PBA history.

“I used to tell the team to just enjoy the game and who knows? We could get a win. But now, at the end of the day, we need to win,” Tiongson said after the Dyip side slumped to their 25th straight loss, ninth straight in this tournament alone.

“We just need one win to make up for the loss and give our team a boost,” Tiongson added.

Terrafirma’s current slump is second only to Blackwater, which has one of the league’s darkest records: a 29-game skid that spanned the 2020 and 2021-22 Governors’ Cup.

Eliminated

And at 0-9, coach Johnedel Cardel’s team was officially eliminated from the quarterfinals with three games remaining – NLEX on Nov. 18, San Miguel Beer on Nov. 23 and Phoenix on Nov. 26. If Terrafirma drops all three games, it won’t match Blackwater’s slump in this conference, giving the team time to regroup before the season-ending tournament.

Terrafirma’s last win came in February when it helped Blackwater’s streak, which at the time stretched to 25 in a row. Interestingly, Dyip had to spend a large deficit to refuse the Bossing’s offer to end their misery.

Nine months later, the tables were turned on Terrafirma as NorthPort staged a comeback in the fourth led by Arvin Tolentino, who finished with a career-high 31 points.

Roi Sumang, William Navarro and Prince Ibeh also contributed for the Batang Pier, who entered the fourth base 71-64 and launched their furious comeback in the final five minutes when they trailed, 81-78.

Decisive turnover

One of the key plays came when Tiongson got a Robert Bolick layup that started a transition that ended with William Navarro converting a left-handed dunk to make it 89-83 with 44 to go.

“If I had a better hit, maybe we’d have a better chance to win,” Tiongson said of his turnover.

North Port won for the second time in a row to go 5-5 and in the top eight with Converge and Barangay Ginebra remaining on the slate.

“If we get Terrafirma to play their best game, we could have been in trouble,” Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio said in Filipino. INQ

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