By Jerome Lagunzad
Zark’s Burgers will have one less rival to worry about in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup finals after veteran guard Jeff Viernes accepted a one-conference deal with rebuilding GlobalPort, leaving a big hole on Che’Lu Bar and Grill.
The 5-foot-7 Viernes, the catalyst behind the Revellers’ strong playoff run, apparently edged out fellow hopeful Jong Baloria for the 15th and final roster spot of the Batang Pier, who are bent on making a bounce-back performance in the Commissioner’s Cup that gets going tomorrow.
While the development should be a welcome one for Viernes, 28, since he’s about to make a pro league return after a one-game stint with Phoenix Fuel last season, Che’Lu Bar and Grill should have its hands full in trying to fill up the huge void left on their backcourt rotation.
After an impressive showing as an import or Hi-Tech City Bangkok in Thai league, Viernes made an immediate impact for the Revellers, providing them with his expected scoring prowess aside from the needed stability and leadership.
Without Viernes, Che’Lu Bar and Grill coach Stevenson Tiu should make do with San Sebastian guards Ryan Costelo and RK Ilagan as the Revellers start their best-of-three finals duel with the Jawbreakers on Tuesday.
For sure, Zark’s Burgers suddenly becomes the title favorite. But don’t tell that to coach Topex Robinson who said:
“Again, they’re number four (after the elimination round) and we’re just number six. They’re playing well and they’re a good group of guys. Sila pa rin ‘yung favorites.”