Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times


Samboy De Leon, Che’lu-San Sebastian show they’re still formidable sans Jeff Viernes

It was bad news for the Che’lu-San Sebastian Revellers, as they learned that the veteran Jeff Viernes will no longer be part of the team for the 2018 D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals, as he has been called up by PBA club team GlobalPort Batang Pier.

With the seasoned guard’s departure, the odds turned against them them, and they were expected to have a hard time against the heavily-favored Zark’s-Lyceum Jawbreakers, who carry a four-game winning run in the playoffs.

But in Game One, the underdogs defied the odds.

Thanks to a well-deployed attack by coach Stevenson Tiu’s boys, the Revellers shocked the Jawbreakers, 107-103, to douse cold water into their fiery streak and to post an early 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

“Yung mindset namin ngayon, lahat kami kailangan mag-step up kasi wala yung point guard namin ngayon na si Jeff Viernes,” said wingman Samboy De Leon, who served as Che’lu’s top scorer with 18 points on four triples.

“Championship na, kailangan namin mag-focus, Kung sino ang piyesa ni coach, step up lang,” added the former Star (now known as Magnolia) Hotshots reserve, who also collected five rebounds and three assists.

De Leon didn’t hide the fact that losing a Jeff Viernes is tough — the former Hi-Tec City Bangkok import was actually the one who towed them into the Finals thanks to his game-winner in Game Two of their semifinals match-up versus Akari-Adamson.

“Siyempre kasi parang leader yun ng team eh. Pagpasok niya naging maganda ang takbo namin,” said the former CEU Scorpion.

#ReadMore  Alex Cabagnot fulfilling 'passion project' of doing commentary

But then, the Revellers have to move on. And for De Leon, having lots of veterans in the team helps speed up the process, as they know what to do and how to help their younger teammates to not be carried away by the loss of a leader.

“Yun ang lamang ng team namin. Kalahati ng team namin veterans, so yung experience nandoon,” said De Leon, who is in the mix for the conference’s Most Valuable Player race along with CJ Perez and teammate Allyn Bulanadi.

“Kaya sabi lang namin sa teammates namin, kailangan composed kami. ‘Wag kami mawawala sa focus.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

You May Also Like

3x3 Basketball

TNT’s back-to-back bid is off to a good start as the powerhouse squad swept its way to the quarterfinals of the PBA 3×3 Season...

3x3 Basketball

Samboy de Leon and Ping Exciminiano came through in overtime as TNT beat Meralco in a clash of familiar foes, 21-19, to rule the...

3x3 Basketball

J&T Express wasted no time introducing its brand of basketball by toppling two heavyweights for a rousing PBA 3×3 debut, Saturday at Robinsons Antipolo....

3x3 Basketball

After the Gilas Pilipinas Men’s 3×3 team got their well-deserved rest after their outstanding performance in the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup, they were...

3x3 Basketball

Gilas Pilipinas 3×3’s stand against a young China fell short, bowing 18-20, in the bronze medal match of the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup,...

3x3 Basketball

Almond Vosotros was the hero, lifting Gilas Pilipinas Men’s 3×3 to a stunning 21-20 (8:24) win over top seed Mongolia in the quarterfinals of...

3x3 Basketball

Facing a world-class team for the first time in the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup, Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 were given a lesson. The PBA...

3x3 Basketball

Lervin Flores and Samboy De Leon stepped up big for Gilas Pilipinas Men’s 3×3, lifting the Philippines to a crucial 21-17 (9:43) win over...