BATANGAS CITY – Batangas City poured in everything it got in surviving Zamboanga, 80-72, in their do-or-die semifinals duel in the MPBL Datu Cup southern division at the Batangas Sports Arena late Tuesday night.
The Tanduay-backed Athletics banked on last season’s MVP Val Acuna, who knocked in nine of his 17 points in the third period as the host team kept its team afloat before Jeff Viernes and Jhaymo Eguilos combined forces in the final quarter in weathering off repeated rallies by the Family’s Brands Sardines-supported Zamboanga side.
Viernes and Eguilos had 10 of the team’s 20 points in the fourth period.
A spitfire guard who was picked up by the Athletics a few games later in the season, Viernes went an assist shy from ending up in a double-double performance. He had 15 points and nine rebounds.
Eguilos, last season’s top performer during the Athletics’ championship run against the Muntinlupa Cagers, added 13 while Adrian Santos was a rebound shot from posting double-double figures after tallying 10 points.
Batangas City thus set up a best-of-three finals showdown with the Davao Occidental Tigers in the southern division of this tournament.