Viernes not letting coach’s trust go to waste in D-League title bid
For Jeff Viernes, trust is the biggest reason Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian has been reaping the rewards in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.
Viernes reunited with coach Stevenson Tiu at the Revellers’ camp just early this month, but the guard enjoys the full confidence from his coach and he hasn’t wasted any of that.
“With coach Steve (Tiu), I know how big his trust is on me. No matter how bad my game is, he knows that he can depend on me. No matter how much I struggle, he’s still willing to entrust the last shot on me,” said Viernes.
That faith was put to the test on Thursday in Game 2 of the Revellers’ semifinals series against Akari-Adamson as they found themselves down big, 3-2, to start the game.
It was easy to let a game like this slip away, after all, Che’Lu-San Sebastian owns a 1-0 series lead and could afford to go to a winner-take-all Game 3.
But not this bunch. Armed with veterans who badly want to finish the job, the Revellers refused to quit and slowly and clawed their way back to setting the nip-and-tuck battle as the game headed to the final minute tied at 90.
And then, Tiu made the call to put the ball in Viernes’ hands.
After missing his first attempt, the veteran playmaker made sure his second one counted, shaking off Simon Camacho and drained the go-ahead bucket with 18.2 seconds remaining before nailing the marginal freebie in the final 4.8 ticks to lift the Revellers to the 93-90 victory over the Falcons.
“Luckily, we got the win and we’re all happy,” said Viernes as Che’Lu-San Sebastian clinched the first seat in the Finals.
Making it to the final dance in the PBA D-League, the 28-year-old guard knows better not to waste this golden opportunity as he eyes another championship alongside his longtime mentor.
“The feeling would be unbelievable if we get this,” he said. “But we know that you won’t get the championship that easily. I’m challenged by these young guys and that pushes me to play at my best every game.”
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