John Cardel challenges Terrafirma bigs to turn on 'Beast' mode next conference

Terrafirma coach John Cardel wants his teams big men to begin working out soon. PBA Media Group

After Terrafirma's failed playoff bid, coach John Cardel expects his big men to begin working out a week from now in an effort to bulk up and develop an intensity similar to the effort of Magnolia's Calvin Abueva.

The Dyip closed their 2021 PBA Philippine Cup elimination round campaign tied with defending champion Barangay Ginebra Kings and the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters at 4-7 in a three-way tie for eighth spot. Terrafirma though fell at the wayside due to an inferior quotient, leaving Ginebra and Phoenix to figure in a playoff for the eighth and last seed.

"The biggest lesson for us is we need to be healthy because injuries to the team hurt our (playoff) chances," Cardel told ESPN5 on Monday.

This year's top rookie pick Joshua Munzon dislocated his left pinky early in the season, while undersized rebounder Andreas Cahilig also tweaked his ankle in their loss to Phoenix. Fil-American forward Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and a few others like Reden Celda and Gelo Alolino missed some games, too.

By October 11, Cardel wants rookie big man James Laput, Christian Balagasay and Roosevelt Adams to begin hitting the gym so they can bulk up in an early preparation for the next conference.

"We want to make sure our big men work out early, bulk up, be prepared for the physicality and play like Abueva and really compete," explained Cardel, whose team easily surpassed the 1-10 win-loss record from the PBA 2020 season bubble.

Cardel also expects Philippine Cup revelation Juami Tiongson to play a key role in the succeeding conference.

Tiongson had several breakout performances after leading Terrafirma to three straight victories early this month when the tournament shifted to the semi-bubble set up in Bacolor, Pampanga.

"We know we can't win if we only rely on a few players because we there will be days when some of our guys will have off nights," he shared. "We know Juami became a marked man."

Cardel hopes the near playoff run would spur his players to perform better moving forward.

"Everyone needs to contribute because not everyone needs to score. But the important thing to remember are the little things like rebounding, hustle and assists. Not everyone needs to score," stressed the Terrafirma mentor.