JEFF Viernes’ PBA dream ended as quickly as it started after he secured a release from the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Monday following his admission of playing in a “ligang labas” game in Malolos two weeks ago without the team's consent.
The 27-year-old guard was caught playing for eventual champion Hobe Macway Travel in the championship game of the Republica Cup against Racal Ceramica under a pseudonym.
After admitting the misdeed to management, Viernes said he asked for a release, which the team granted.
“Aminado naman po akong mali yung nagawa ko at sobrang nahihiya ako sa management ng Phoenix at kay Coach Ariel (Vanguardia), kaya po nag-decide nalang ako magparelease,” said the St. Clare alum.
Viernes, who toiled in semi-professional leagues, both here and abroad after going undrafted in the PBA in 2013, said he will also pay a fine slapped on him by the ballclub.
“May fine po ako at babayaran ko po yun sa sahod. Napirmahan ko na po yung release paper kanina. Sa sobrang hiya ko po kila Coach Ariel at sa management ng Phoenix kaya po nagpa-release na po ako at nirelease naman po nila ako,” said Viernes.
Explaining his decision to play in an unsanctioned game, the cat-quick guard said he only sought to uphold a commitment that he made to Hobe Macway while he was still playing in the Thailand Basketball Super League.
“Nung naglalaro pa po ako sa Thailand, naka-commit na ako sa kanila, yung team ko diyan sa Republica Cup, kaya nahihiya na ko tumanggi at saka ang laki ng utang na loob ko din dun,” Viernes said.
Viernes bared that he would take some time off but is banking on veteran agent Danny Espiritu to find him a new team to play for, either here or abroad.
“Pahinga po muna ako ako saglit then laro po muna ako sa iba, kung hindi man dito sa atin baka sa ibang bansa. Si Boss Danny (Espiritu) na bahala,” he shared.