BATANGAS CITY — Jeff Viernes reaffirmed his role as the team’s top gun and floor leader as the veteran guard stepped up when needed the most to lift inaugural season champion Batangas City Athletics-Tanduay to a 79-70 victory over bitter rival Muntinlupa Cagers late Saturday night here at the Batangas City Coliseum.
Viernes knocked in 18 of his 25 points in the second half as the Athletics picked up their first win of the season. He had nine of his team’s last 13 points, including the go-ahead three-point basket in the 3:13 mark of the final quarter to put Batangas City on top, 69-66.
For Viernes, making a good first impression is a statement that the Athletics are out to reclaim the title.
“Positive kaming lahat. Nung binuo nila itong team namin, one goal lang talaga kami, which is ibalik yung kampeonato,” said Viernes. “No excuse kami last season. May mga nawala, pero may mga dumating. Kinapos lang din talaga.”
Batangas City also drew solid games form new recruits Jason Melano and Genmar Bragais, who both ended up in double figures.
Picked up in the off season after being released by Bulacan, Melano quickly provided the solid contributions on both forward spots for the Athletics. He ended up with 16 points on a steady 8-of-11 shooting from the field.
Bragais, on the other hand, added 10 points on top of seven rebounds and five assists.
New Batangas City coach Goldwyn Monteverde, who is coaching in the men’s level for the first time in his career, didn’t have much difficulty on the transition in coaching.
“Jason Melano provides us strength off the bench, he’s really hardworking. Yun rin ang gusto namin sa team composed of hardworking players,” added Monteverde. “As for me, this is a new experience for me.”