ZAMBOANGA – Everybody deserves a second chance. And former PBA veteran Reed Juntilla, who makes a living out of basketball, sees his time in a new league as a welcome development.
Juntilla was among those who were suspended following a game-fixing charge that marred the first season of the VisMin Super Cup. And in his return to action, the many-time champion in the PBL wants to prove that he is all about winning.
He has proven it in the ongoing import-flavored conference of the VisMin Super Cup, which is under new management headed by commissioner Cris Bautista.
"Very inspired ’yan si Reed, kasi halos wala na kumukuha sa kanya after doon sa nangyaring controversy last year," said Zamboanga coach Joseph Romarate.
But the Valientes were more than willing to welcome back Juntilla.
The 37-year-old guard used to play for the Valientes during their first season in the MPBL three years ago, emerging as the team's brightest star, until he got traded to the Bataan Risers.
At the height of the pandemic, Juntilla was waiting for an opportunity and the creation of a professional basketball league in the regional level – VisMin Cup – paved the way for the entry of the former University of the Visayas standout, who joined the ARQ Builders-Lapu-Lapu City Heroes.
It proved to be short lived, though, as Juntilla was among those hit when VisMin Cup management imposed fines and sanctions on players, coaches, and management of Lapu-Lapu and Siquijor.
The Games and Amusement Board also stepped in and revoked the license of the members of these squads.
When the players were reinstated, Juntilla made the most out of the second chance given to him.
"Matagal ko hinintay itong opportunity na ito," Juntilla told ABS-CBN.
"Gusto natin patunayan na malinis ang hangarin natin sa basketball. Naghahanap-buhay lang tayo. At the same time, passion natin ito at gusto nating maging magandang halimbawa sa mga mas bata at magagaling na players na puwedeng maging future ng Philippine basketball."
True enough, Juntilla is leading by example.
He has emerged as the second best local scorer in the tournament, averaging 22.6 points per game while leading his team, the Valientes, in scoring.
Juntilla is also the third best three-point shooter in the tournament, averaging 43.5% from beyond the arc.
With Juntilla leading the way, the Valientes had also put themselves in contention for the title. They are currently third in the league with a 5-4 win-loss record.
No one can defy Father Time, but Juntilla has found ways to utilize every skill set that he has.
And, as one of the more seasoned players in the league, Juntilla is determined to prove he knows what it takes to win.