BATANGAS — In its first home game since tragedy struck its town, Batangas-Tanduay made sure to carve out a thrilling 70-66 victory over visiting Marikina in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup at the Batangas State University here, Wednesday.
With the game deadlocked at 64-all, Jeff Viernes took matters into his own hands and drained a clutch triple to give Batangas a 67-64 cushion with 2:07 remaining in the game.
Looking to lift his team up, Yves Sazon answered with a jumper to slice put the Shoemasters to within a point.
After a series of missed shots, Viernes finally gave the Athletics their much-needed separation with a split from the line, 68-66, with 6.2 ticks left.
Jason Melano then blocked a three-point attempt by Sazon before Viernes converted two freebies at the end of regulation to bag the victory for Batangas.
“It’s a close game again, binitawan na naman namin yung lead namin. We have to learn to play consistent, we played in spurts today,” said Batangas head coach Woody Co.
Viernes ended with 15 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the 16-11 Batangas, a game behind sixth-running Zamboanga in the South Division.
Jhaymo Eguilos, who missed Batangas’ last game due to sickness, posted 13 points and seven rebounds while Melano added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Sazon dropped 28 points on a 10-of-26 shooting clip while Ato Ular followed with a double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds in a losing cause.
The Shoemasters dropped their slate to 9-20 in the North Division.
Batangas-Tanduay (70) — Viernes 15, Eguilos 13, Melano 10, Bragais 7, Olivares 7, Suerte 6, Santos 4, Salim 3, Tungcab 3, Koga 2
Marikina (66) — Sazon 28, Ular 17, Española 7, Casajeros 4, Pascual 3, Salvador 2, Cadorna 2, Padua 0, Dysam 0, Gines 0
Quarterscores: 11-10, 35-25, 56-56, 70-66
Story by Jonash Dannug
Photo by Nicks Hernandez