IT’S redemption time for Jeff Viernes in his second tour of duty for Che’Lu Bar and Grill.
Leaving the team for GlobalPort just before the championship round last conference, the 28-year-old guard is back in the fold for the Revellers as he is hell-bent on making up for lost time.
And this time, he has his sights set on one thing only.
“Itong conference na ito, wala kaming ibang goal kundi bumalik sa finals ulit at kung palarin, makuha ang championship,” he said.
It was an interesting turn of events, to say the least, for Viernes.
Coming back from Thailand, his leadership spurred league newcomer Che’Lu to make it to the finals. He, though, was unable to play in that best-of-three series after the Batang Pier called him up to the PBA.
The Revellers ended up as bridesmaids to eventual champion Zark’s Burger-Lyceum while Viernes played just two games with GlobalPort before being replaced by Pao Javelona.
Through it all, Viernes holds no regrets for the decisions he made.
“Alam mo naman ang mundo ng basketball, ganyan talaga. Kailangan maging ready ka sa lahat ng nangyayari,” the 5-foot-8 guard said.
“Syempre, pag may maganda kang ginagawa, may magaganda ring dumarating. Dumarating din yung medyo hindi maganda, pero life goes on. Kung ano ang nangyayari sa buhay, masama man yan, wag mo na lang isipin. Ipagpatuloy mo lang yung magandang ginagawa mo.”
But after missing the chance to help coach Stevenson Tiu win a championship in the Aspirants’ Cup, Viernes has made it a point to complete what he felt is an unfinished business from last conference. So much so that he’s devoting all of his time to this team.
“Nag-promise ako kay coach Steve na no matter what, tatapusin ko itong D-League namin. Hindi na ako nag-MPBL para mas focused ako dito sa D-League. Yun ang pambawi ko sa kanila,” he said.
The former St. Clare standout believes that there’s no better time for Che’Lu to win it all than in this Foundation Cup.
“Six teams lang eh kaya yung chance namin, malaki,” he said.
But the issue remains the squad’s chemistry, with the Revellers struggling to build enough camaraderie with this new-look squad, as evidenced by their 94-78 defeat to CEU on Thursday — a fact Viernes didn’t fail to acknowledge.
“Yung chemistry ang kulang namin. Nasa adjustment stage pa rin kami. Ang hirap kumuha ng players dahil may sari-sarili silang mga commitment sa ibang teams at di kami nakukumpleto sa ensayo,” he said.
Still, Viernes has nothing but positive vibes for the Revellers in this D-League quest.
“Ten games naman ito, it’s just the first game. May chance naman kami siguro kasi nakikita ko ang potensyal ng teammates ko,” he said. “Kung anong meron kaming materyales, kung sino ang kasama namin, pagtatrabahuan namin hanggang makuha namin ang kampeonato.“