MARIKINA CITY – Jumbo Plastic made it back-to-back championships after capturing the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup at the expense of Mighty Sports, 80-68, in front of a packed Marikina Sports Center Friday night (May 27). Jeff Alvin Viernes delivered seven unanswered points in a crucial stretch of the fourth period to help secure the trophy and end the best-of-three series, 2-1.
Coupled with his 31-point output in Game Two last Wednesday, Viernes eventually got the nod as Most Valuable Player of the Finals, matching his feat in last year’s Founders Cup wherein he won the same honor. The score was deadlocked at 63-63 when Viernes began his game-winning heroics with a three-point play off Andrian Celada followed a scooping layup and a long two-pointer that set the count at 70-63 and 2:52 remaining on the game clock.
Best Import Bright Akhuetie tried to wake up his teammates with a thundering dunk that ended Viernes’ one-man barrage, 67-70. Jumbo Plastic nearly lost control of the game after a 24-second shot clock violation and an offensive foul on James Martinez as they nursed their five-point advantage, 72-67.
Mac Montilla then missed a side triple with the loose ball going to Viernes who was quickly fouled and made both his gift shots, 74-67. Gab Banal then split his free throws as Jumbo Plastic players would be fouled and sent to the free throw line as time was not on Mighty Sports’ side.
As the seconds waned and Jumbo Plastic assured of victory, Moustapha Arafat dribbled the length of the court for an exclamation slam dunk. Arafat finished with one of his better performances with seven points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
“We are champions and we play with pride,” said a jubilant Coach Stevenson Tiu. “Credit to the players, they really played hard today and we prepared for the both situations where Ravena would or would not play.”
Coach Tiu was referring to Mighty Sports team leader and tournament MVP Kiefer Ravena, who flew to London immediately after Game Two to attend to personal matters. Also missing in action for Mighty Sports were Kevin Ferrer and Tyrone Tang.
Viernes showed that he could play any day and not just on a Friday by scattering 28, points, six rebounds and eight assists. Jaymo Eguilos had eight of his 18 points in the fourth period.
Akhuetie tried to carry Mighty Sports with 14 points and 15 rebounds but it was not enough as he lacked support from the rest of the team. John Lopez and Allan Mangahas followed with nine points each.
Other members of the champion team are players Jay-R Taganas, Allan Santos, Mark Lopez, Marcy Arellano, Stephen Siruma, Jayson Ibay, Christopher Bitoon and Tristan Perez. Coach Tiu is assisted by Jerson Cabiltes, Gonzalo Catalan and Moriel Baligod, trainer Marlon Celis and team manager Horacio Lim.
How They Scored:
JUMBO PLASTIC (80) – Viernes 21, Eguilos 18, Martinez 15, Taganas 12, Arafat 7, Santos 5, Lopez 2, Arellano 0, Siruma 0, Ibay 0.
MIGHTY SPORTS (68) – Akhuetie 14, Mangahas 9, Lopez 9, Montilla 8, Banal 8, Celada 6, M. Bringas 6, A. Bringas 5, Regalado 3, Melocoton 0.
Period Scores: 15-16, 28-35, 53-52, 80-68.