| Fadhil Yunus & Abdul Hakiim Yakof |
BRUNEI Beruang Blazers are in pole position of sewing up the second seed berth in the knock-out rounds of the Grand Borneo Invitational Challenge after notching their first win of the tournament in a fine 82-65 victory over Miri King Kong at the Indoor Stadium last night.
Philippines import Jeff Alvin D Viernes were in unplayable mode after recording a haul of 33 points in a free-scoring night including five consecutive three-pointers which contributed in the team’s unassailable lead.
The tournament hosts trailed by nine points against a Miri side looking to lock up second seed at the start of the third quarter but they found momentum which subsequently led to Jeff Viernes hitting top form.
Muhd Zainul Ashyraf bin Haji Hussin retrieved the ball and passed it to Jamri Ramlee who brought it forward but his attempted shot was blocked by the imposing figure of JJ Foronda.
Viernes then made strong running to force the foul as Brunei Beruang Blazers got onto the groove.
Jamri made a good cross pass to Ben Sim who sank a three-pointer suggesting the road to recovery.
The locals were in inspiring form as Zainul’s play led the ball falling to Raymar Jose who made the short jumper as a series of vital points dropped for the Brunei Beruang Blazers.
Viernes then assisted in trimming the lead to just one point before an incredible period that put the hosts firmly in control of the tie. Brunei Beruang Blazers head coach Rabboni Rosito while underlining the importance of Jeff Viernes to the team, also commended the efforts of the local players.
“If possible he (Viernes) was our leader and our court general. Now he shows everyone that he deserves this one. We get him and this is why we get him to deliver. He performed very well tonight,” said Rabboni in a post-match interview.
“I’m also very happy not just because of Jeff Viernes but the whole team contributed.
That’s why we won because it’s a total team effort,” concluded the head coach.
Brunei Beruang Blazers will face Pontianak Vois in their final preliminary match tonight with a win likely to seal the second seed.
Meanwhile, Kuching Lord Tiger mauled Pontianak Vois 85-49 in the earlier game.
Pontianak Vois were leading in the first quarter with 21 to 15.
However, Kuching Lord Tiger came back with plays from high flying Bobby Balucanag, rebound machine Jesse Collado and young blood Andy Jong, earning them a 37-30 lead.
They further put on a show in the third quarter 68-34 with Pontianak Vois trying to catch up but displaying weak penetration on the court.
It was all over for Pontianak Vois in the 4th quarter with a rampant Kuching Lord Tiger ramping up the score.
Andy Jong stood out during the game with 26 points. The main players for Pontianak Vois were Jimmy Wijaya and William.