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Hot D-League stint earns Tiongson PBA return

PBA (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--All Juami Tiongson needed was a stint in the PBA D-League to tell everyone that he is PBA material.

Blackwater's first round pick in the 2014 draft struggled in his maiden campaign, relegating him to the reserve list for most of the 2016 season.

But following an assignment with the Elite's D-League affiliate, no less than reigning ABL champs Malaysia Dragons representing Blu Star Detergent, Tiongson became an unstoppable force, even becoming an MVP contender in the Foundation Cup only to be hampered by the fact that the club struggled in the conference.

Despite his D-League team's performance, Tiongson's brilliant individual play earned him a spot in the Elite's active roster.

Tiongson was reactivated on Tuesday in time for Blackwater's clash with Meralco on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Tiongson will take the place of JP Erram, who was placed in the injured list after hurting his right knee in their match on Saturday. Erram, who is also part of the Gilas pool for the FIBA Asia Challenge, is suspected to have suffered an ACL injury, which could sideline him until next season's Philippine Cup, effectively taking him out of consideration for the Final 12 to the said continental competition.

The Elite also announced the signing of veteran guard Denok Miranda, who will help Tiongson in the point guard while Almond Vosotros, who is also part of the national team pool, is out of action due to the FIBA Asia Challenge. Vosotros was placed in the free agent list, although they are expected to reactivate him once his national team duty is done.

Meralco and Blackwater collide in the main game of the PBA doubleheader on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., following the curtain-raiser between NLEX and Mahindra at 4:15 p.m.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno