JEFF Viernes came up huge in his first game back in the Philippines, scoring 22 points to lift Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian to an 80-72 win over Gamboa Coffee Mix-St. Clare in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup quarterfinals at the Pasig Sports Center.
Viernes, coming off a stint in the Thailand professional league, scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the fourth-seeded Revellers completed a comeback from 13 points down.
Che’Lu will face Akari-Adamson in the best-of-three semifinals.
Tiu admitted the Revellers struggled to adjust quickly, with the addition of other new players in MPBL cagers Tep Siruma, Jessie Collado and Jay-R Taganas, and PBA D-League player Cedrick Ablaza of Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College, but managed to eke out the win.
“Nadagdagan kami ng mga players pero I feel na sila ang nag-carry sa end game namin,” said Tiu,
Viernes had a three-point play in a 14-5 run that that put Che’Lu ahead by six after trailing by two, 60-58.
RK Ilagan added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Revellers.
Chris Bitoon had 19 points and Trevis Jackson had 11 points for the fifth seed Coffee Lovers.
Che’Lu San Sebastian 80 - Viernes 22, Ilagan 10, De Leon 9, Ablaza 9, Bulanadi 7, Costelo 6, Batino 6, Taganas 5, Collado 4, Faundo 2, Siruma 0.
Gamboa St. Clare 72 - Bitoon 19, Fontanilla 13, Pare 12, Dionisio 12, Jackson 11, Rubio 5, Decano 0, Hallare 0.
Quarterscores: 16-27; 37-40; 52-56; 80-72.