Batangas City is set to accomplish its unfinished business following an 80-71 win over Zamboanga in the south division finals of the OKBet-Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League 4th Season.
Athletics coach Cholo Villanueva said they are all pumped up as they are now just one win away from making a returning to the national finals.
But more than returning to the finals, the Athletics are out to settle an old score.
Villanueva as well as Batangas City standouts like Rudy Lingganay, Jeckster Apinan, Jong Baloria and Cedric Ablaza used to compete for the old Makati squad, which led the north division tournament two years ago.
Makati was on its way to the playoffs but the management decided to take a different direction, leaving Villanueva and his players searching for answers.
Now that they are with Batangas City, Villanueva and his wards will have another crack at finishing their aborted mission.
“You can see how long we’ve come together,” said Villanueva in an interview with Non-Stop Sports at The Link Podcast.
“We came from that situation and now we’re here with Tanduay family supporting us in all the decisions we’re making inside the basketball court. That’s why the players are really motivated to achieve our goal.”
“If we win it all the way, it’s going to be special, for everybody. We started a few years back, we set a goal and were close to achieving it, but there were other things beyond our control. We had to be more matured in dealing it. Now, we’re still together.”
His players are more than excited moving closer to settling the score.
“We’ve been through a lot. We’ve experienced sadness, disappointments, especially for our family. But now, we’re so happy to be back,” Lingganay said.
For Baloria, this is a result of the hard work that they have put in and the commitment they have shared together.
“All the hard work is reaping benefits now,” Baloria said.
“We’re here in the south finals. We’re more motivated and we’ll work harder until we reach our goal and that is to become the national champion.”
Apinan couldn’t be happier for the group which has joined him in so many cage wars.
“First of all, I’m so happy that we’re here in the south finals with practically almost the same group,” Apinan stressed.
“Then, we still have Coach Cholo. What we failed to achieve before in our old team, we have an opportunity of fulfilling it here in Batangas. This is our best opportunity. We’ll not let this chance pass by. If it takes us to do it more than 100 percent, we will do that.”