PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Petra Cement-Roxas finally entered the win column of 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup on its third try, Sunday.
And it was because of one man: Lester Reyes.
The 6-foot-4 native of Esperanza, Agusan Del Sur made the biggest shot of his career. He received a last-second dish from JK Casiño, then buried a short stab to beat the buzzer for the 71-69 win over the fancied JPS Zamboanga City at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
Vanguards head coach Eddie Laure said what happened in the final seconds of the game was what they really drew up during their timeout.
Reyes seconded the statement.
“Naka-abang lang ako sa ilalim kasi kung maitira ng kakampi ko, kukuha ako ng offensive rebound,” shared the 35-year-old banger, who previously played for the San Juan Knights during the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season.
“Pero ayun. Napasahan ako nang maganda ni JK ng last minute. Blessing na lang din nai-shoot ko.”
The shot he made was over Jerwin Gaco and Gabby Espinas, who both were having impressive performances for Zamboanga City.
To be able to make that buzzer-beater over those two household names in Philippine leagues was a challenge Reyes took head-on.
“Challenge sa akin kasi mga ex-PBA, mga beterano ‘yung kalaban, so mabigat. At least naipakita ko rin ‘yung game ko,” said the product of Saint Joseph Institute of Technology-Butuan.
Reyes finished with eight points, eight rebounds — including five on the offensive end — and two blocks.
In their first two games, both losses, Reyes was a steady force for the Vanguards. He averaged a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Now that they finally have their first win, Reyes could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
“Nabawasan kami ng pressure kasi grabe ‘yung suporta ng mayor ng Roxas sa amin, lahat binibigay. Kumbaga ito na ‘yung sukli namin, ‘yung panalo.”