CHE’LU Bar and Grill proved too much for Centro Escolar University, scoring an 86-73 Game Three victory on Tuesday to book the last ticket to the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Jeff Viernes proved why he’s one of the most lethal scorers in the developmental ranks, pumping 26 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals to send the Revellers to a return trip to the championship round.
Jessie Collado also muscled his way to 19 points and 12 rebounds, as Levi Hernandez dropped 12.
Once again, Che’Lu Bar and Grill lorded the paint with JayR Taganas and Jason Melano combining for 22 rebounds together with their 16 points.
“Most of our players, di pa nakakapag-champion sa D-League. Even me, hanggang semifinals lang ako. Kaya ang challenge sa mga players, gusto mo magchampion? Talunin mo ang CEU,” said coach Stevenson Tiu.
The Revellers certainly showed their hunger, coming hot off the gates with a 14-4 start as they preserved that edge and held off numerous rallies from the Scorpions.
Rich Guinitaran brought CEU within eight, 73-65 with 6:41 remaining, but a booming triple from Viernes stopped the Scorpions in their tracks, with Hernandez sealing the win for good, 79-67 with a jumper in the final 3:29.
Che’Lu Bar and Grill begins its best-of-five championship series against Go for Gold on Thursday.
“Yun pa rin ang challenge ng management sa amin, go for it,” said Tiu, who is looking to atone for its Aspirants’ Cup heartache against Zark’s Burger-Lyceum.
Judel Fuentes, John Rojas, and Orlan Wamar all had 11 points in the losing cause for CEU.
Che'Lu Bar 86 – Viernes 26, Collado 19, Hernandez 12, Taganas 9, Melano 7, Siruma 7, Bitoon 4, De Joya 2, Flores 0, Ruaya 0, Sta. Ana 0.
CEU 73 – Fuentes 11, Rojas 11, Wamar 11, Chan 9, Oloume 8, Ke. Caballero 7, Guinitaran 7, Formento 5, Intic 2, Uri 2, Ko. Caballero 0.
Quarterscores: 22-12; 47-37; 69-56; 86-73.