Batangas City whips Zamboanga, arranges MPBL south finale with Davao Occi

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BATANGAS CITY — It’s been a while since Batangas City saw a more productive game from Val Acuña.

The Most Valuable Player last season proved he can still be a steady presence when push comes to shove as he led four players in double figures in the Batangas City Athletics-Tanduay’s 80-72 triumph over the Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines. The win moved them into the championship round of the southern division with the Davao Occidental Tigers-Cocolife.

Acuña finished with 17 points, nine of them happened in the third period to keep Zamboanga at bay.

In the fourth period, it was Jeff Vernes and Jhaymo Eguilos’ turn to hold the fort for Batangas as they combined for 10 of the team’s 20 points in the final period to keep Zamboanga at bay.

Viernes, the spitfire guard, went an assist shy from posting a double-double performance as he finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Eguilos added 13 points while Adrian Santos went a rebound away from also posting a double-double as he had 10 points and nine boards.

“I told my players, if we’re going to lose the game, matatalo tayo sa mga kamay ko,” said Batangas City coach Mac Tan. “Basta sundin niyo lang ang gusto kong mangyari and the players responded.”

The Athletics worked double time on the defensive end as they forced their rivals to 21 turnovers, which resulted to 18 points.

Batangas City will be facing a well-rested Davao Occidental team on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial College in Davao City and Tan sees his team in a big disadvantage.

“There’s no time to rest for us. We’ll be flying in tomorrow (Wednesday) then go to practice right away to prepare for our game,” added Tan.  “But we cannot do anything about it. It something we have to live with.”

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