Chris Bitoon proves defensive worth in Manila victory
MANILA, Philippines–Manila Stars coach Tino Pinat knows what to expect from his spitfire guard Chris Bitoon on offense: A lethal outside shooter with mean handles and a strong finisher at the rim.
What he has yet to see from his prized playmaker is his ability to neutralize some of the best guards in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
Matched up against the explosive Jeff Viernes of Batangas City, Bitoon showed his coach he can make an impact on the defensive end as he spearheaded a 73-50 beat-down of the Athletics late Tuesday night at San Andres Sports Complex in Manila.
Bitoon finished with 20 points and held Viernes to just 4-of-12 shooting in their matchup as Manila rolled to its fourth win in five outings.
Playing their first game in almost a month, the Athletics struggled, allowing the Stars to start the game with an 11-0 run that set the tone for the rout.
“Coach really challenged me to lead the defensive game plan on Jeff Viernes,” said Bitoon in Filipino. Manila held Batangas to just 28-percent shooting from the field (19-of-66) as the Athletics dropped to 1-1.
Earlier, General Santos City rewarded debuting coach Rich Alvarez an easy 100-76 triumph over Binan City with Robby Celiz leading five players in twin digits.
Alvarez, a two time UAAP MVP, who played 12 years in the PBA, replaced Noy Pido, who slid to assistant coach.
Meanwhile, Basilam Steel held off the Marikina Shoemasters before prevailing, 86-83, with Bobby Balucanag winding up with 18 points and 10 boards.