Last season, Juami Tiongson was seen suiting up for Malaysian team Blustar Detergent Dragons. With the team composed of young Malaysian players, Tiongson became their undisputed leader.
With a number of notable showings for Blustar — including a 34-point outburst against Phoenix back in the 2016 Foundation Cup — Tiongson was then called up by the team that drafted him in 2014, the Blackwater Elite.
However, the Tiongson-Blackwater reunion was short-lived, leaving the 25-year-old with no team to play for.
“I didn’t know where I was going,” lamented the first-rounder, when he was let go of the Elite also last year.
But now in the 2017 Aspirant’s Cup, a rejuvenated Tiongson can be seen playing for the AMA Online Education Titans alongside the likes of Jeron Teng and veteran JR Taganas.
With the chance AMA gave him, the 5-foot-10 playmaker is nothing but thankful for the opportunity handed out to him.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity they’ve given me. AMA was the only one who gave me an opportunity, so I’m very thankful of them,” said the former Ateneo Blue Eagle.
And on Monday night, Tiongson returned the favor to AMA, giving the Titans a huge lift to reign victorious over the Cignal-San Beda Hawkeyes, 94-85, at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.
In the win that sent AMA to a 2-0 record, Tiongson shone the brightest, sizzling for 32 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field to go along with six rebounds and four assists.
“Everyone knows AMA that they struggle, but we want to make a statement against a strong team in San Beda,” said Tiongson regarding the victory.
Looking at Tiongson’s current situation, him playing for AMA seems to be a much better one compared to last year, where BluStar finished the 2016 Foundation Cup with a dismal 2-10 card.
When asked about the differences between the two teams he played for, Tiongson shared that the pressure is off his back this time around, especially with the presence of key players around him.
“Now I have Jeron Teng, Taganas, Ryan Arambulo. So we’re competitive now. Mas magaling teammates ko. I’m not trying to belittle Blustar [but] we know naman the caliber of the team now,” he pointed out.
Tiongson’s time with AMA has now extended to two games, with a lot more coming up as the season progresses. And for him, he is just relishing his stint with his newly-found team and in the league.
“I’m making the most out of it. Kasi siyempre if ever I make it back to the PBA, sige. If not, okay lang din.
“I’m thankful pa rin that I’m playing basketball,” Tiongson voiced.